Episode 18 – 8 Tips for Effective Decision Making
This week we are going to talk about 8 tips to help make you an effective decision maker.
Find the full show notes to this episode at RecoveringCorpoholics.com/18
Everything we do in life, from getting up in the morning until we go to bed at night, is made up of making decisions.
Some of our decisions are small, such as getting a glass of water and some are huge, such as deciding to change careers. No matter the size, good decision-making skills are critical as they can determine your growth and opportunities in life.
In addition, good decision-making skills also makes you feel confident. When you prolong a decision, you may end up feeling indecisive, which gets you down. You feel in limbo. You can be overwhelmed, stressed, confused, distracted, you name it.
And because indecisiveness can have a negative effect on how we’re feeling, it’s critical that we learn how to effectively make decisions, especially those tough ones like changing careers!
And that is why we are going to talk about 8 different tips that are going to help make you an effective decision maker this week.
Tip #1: Relax and don’t let stress win
The first tip I have is to not let stress get the best of you. Easier said than done, right?
When you are facing a tough decision, like should I quit my job and do something else, it’s easy to feel stress! It would be weird if you didn’t! But when we get stressed, we tend to make quick, sometimes not thought-out choices or we just put the decision off for later.
When you are feeling stressed when making a decision, I want you to take a step back. Go for a walk, exercise, meet with a friend, whatever you do to destress and get your mind back in the game.
When you feel stressed over overwhelmed, I want you to ask yourself, are you in the game giving it your best? Or are you just trying to do anything to get to the finish line? Are you choosing what you really want or are you just picking the easier option?
I know for me when I am stressed, I may choose the easiest option vs what I really want because I want to be done with it. I literally have no more brain capacity to make any more decisions.
Think about when you’re stressed and it’s time for dinner. Do you want get take out or to cook a delicious homemade meal? For me, I would prefer the homemade meal as I know it’s going to be healthier.
However, if I have a lot to do or just had one of those days, it’s so easy to just want to get take out. But when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I know I have to work through that.
So, in summary, figure out how to destress so you make the choice you want to make vs your letting your stress decide.
Tip #2: Give yourself time
The second tip is to give yourself the time and space to make the decision.
As I just mentioned, when were stressed from a decision we have to make, that stress clouds our judgement and we may make a choice we may not really want to make.
So, it’s really important that you give yourself the time and space to process all your options and feel confident in what you choose.
Now you may be thinking, sometimes you don’t have time. Maybe a job offer just came in and you need to give a response by the next day. There is no shame in asking if you could have till the end of the week, etc., so you know you have proper time to think about.
Maybe they say no, but at least you’ll know how much time you have and wont be thinking about – Man, I wish I had more time!
Tip #3: Set a deadline
And that leads me to my third tip, to set a deadline so you’re not letting decisions linger.
If you can’t decide right away, choose a deadline to give yourself.
Maybe it’s a small decision so you give yourself 24 hours. Maybe it’s a big decision so you give yourself to a week. Whatever the case may be, pick a date.
If you make the decision prior to the deadline, great! If not, you know you gave yourself the time to think about and now you need to look to see what’s really holding you back from making a choice.
Maybe you need to figure out what’s important to you. Maybe it’s even a fear you need to address.
So why are deadlines important?
Well first, studies show that we give ourselves deadlines, we actually flip a switch in our brains to want to get it done and check the box.
Secondly, it allows us to make the time for the decision and clear up our brain capacity.
Think of all the decisions you have to make like programs open on your computer. When you have a lot of programs or tabs open, your computer runs slower. Sometimes it even shuts down!
Your brain is just like a computer. With so many decisions to make and things to do, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. And when that happens, we might not get anything done that we want.
The best thing to do is close some tabs! Aka make those decisions that are taking up space in our heads.
Think about a decision you have to make. Now think about your to-do list. What are you going to do? I know you may say your to-do list but with a big decision to make, do you really think you can accomplish everything?
Maybe you do, but do you think it would be done with the same quality?
Let me give an example. Earlier this year, my husband and I were house hunting. We live in Miami and since it seems that everyone is moving here from all over the country, the market is very hot and moving super-fast.
When we found a house we liked, we needed to decide if we should move forward and put an offer in. But we were torn! I mean it’s a lot of money to buy a house so we wanted to make sure it was the right house for us!
But if we didn’t decide quickly enough, the house would already be under contract (it has happened). Literally, that’s how fast things are moving here. So, we had to decide things faster than we were normally comfortable with it.
We said we would think about it after work and talk over dinner each night but what do you think happened that week? Not much!
My brain was so focused on making the decision that I couldn’t focus on the things I actually wanted to get done each day. I spent the days searching for other homes, design specs, aka everything house related.
I felt like I had a million tabs open on my computer brain. I literally was getting nothing done! I kept telling myself it was OK because it was a big decision but in reality, it wasn’t OK.
I was letting something get in the way of getting things done that go directly to my goals.
Later that week, I told my husband no more! We either go for it or we don’t. No more limbo. And that night we used my DRIVE decision chart and made the decision to move forward.
In summary, take your time to make a decision, write all of the details down, but don’t let it linger to the point where you put your life on hold for it.
Tip #4: Make a pros/cons list
On to the next. When we have a big decision to make, we can sometimes get lost in all the details and scenarios running in our heads. So, to avoid getting lost in the options, my fourth tip is to write a list of pros and cons for each choice and compare.
I want you here to consider every possibility and what may even happen later down the line from making either decision. Think about what’s important to you. Will this help you further your goals? Does this connect to your values?
Sometimes it’s not as bad as we thought or maybe sometimes not as good. Whatever the results, take the time to review weigh all your options and connect with what you really want from making that decision.
Just a quick side note, I do a little more work than a plain old pros/cons list that I call my DRIVE Decision Model I will go over next week in Episode 19. It’s very detailed and I love how it incorporates everything I need to make a big decision.
Tip #5: Stay positive And push through your fears
The fifth tip I want to give you is to stay positive and push through your fears. Think about what you truly want and what’s important to you. Don’t think so much about what others might think and what’s happened in the past.
For instance, I wanted to leave my job for so long, but I was so scared of what people thought, what I was leaving behind and so forth. I was stating all of the negative things.
Deep down, I knew I had more to give and loved coaching but the negative things won for so long.
It really wasn’t until I thought about what I really wanted for myself and was positive about my choice that things open up for me. So please, be kind to yourself. See the bigger picture, not just the right now or the fears trying to keep you safe!
Tip #6: Talk it out
The sixth tip I want to give you is to talk it out. When you have something that is taking up so much of your thinking power and you’ve tried to set a deadline, de-stress yourself, make your pro/con list and still can’t decide, talk to someone about it. Don’t hold it in.
Sometimes, seeing someone else’s perspective may help you get closer to making a decision.
However, make sure you are talking to someone who has your best interest at heart or someone who has made a similar decision before.
For instance, when I was contemplating quitting my job, I talked about it with my family and friends. I would say 90% of them said not to quit my job. Just imagine if I listened to them. You wouldn’t be here, listening to this video today!
That is why I hired a coach who had done it before me and why I truly love the magic of coaching.
Tip #7: Stop trying to make things perfect
The seventh tip I have is to forget about perfectionism! Like what I say almost every week, forget about being perfect. There are no perfect answers. Your decision isn’t a math problem with one answer.
Stop focusing on trying to have it all perfect and move on. You can always make changes later.
Tip #8: Choose confidently
And that brings me to my last and final tip, whatever you are choose, even if you’re on the fence about it, make that decision confidently.
If you don’t choose confidently, what’s going to end up happening is regret. The feeling that maybe you should have chosen the other option.
And then what starts to happen is you running through all the scenarios and saying things like, I wish I didn’t do this, or this wouldn’t be happening if I choose X.
Forget all those thoughts.
You made a decision based on the information you had at the time and it’s what you wanted at that moment. And let’s be real, we can’t stop our brains for having these thoughts. But the key here is not letting them take over.
Can you imagine if your friend reminded you every day of something you regret, would you want to be friends with that person? That friend I’m talking about it you! So, stop talking to yourself like that! Connect with why you choose it and move on.
And if now you’re unhappy, don’t have regret, just more confidence that you know what you want to go after. Make a plan and try to figure it out how to make it happen.
That’s all I have for today, I hope you enjoyed these 8 tips. Stay tuned for next week’s episode as I talk about about my DRIVE Decision Model and how it helps me make all my big decisions.
Stay inspired and live powerfully,
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