We’ve all had that feeling when we’ve envied our colleagues who can develop smart decisions on the fly. What’s the secret behind making smart decisions? We can sometimes struggle with ordering an iced coffee, so how can we make choices that will impact an entire team, city, or nation? To improve your decision-making skills, follow these six tips.
1. Identify if you need to make a decision
When we are given too much information or required to make too many decisions, we can suffer from information overload. Information overload prevents us from processing information and making clear decisions. Before you start brainstorming, identify if a decision is necessary. This will save you time and allow you to focus on issues that need your attention without overwhelming yourself.
2. Be objective
We all have our preconceived notions that we carry with us. Sometimes we make our choices based on confirmation bias and predictions. When making decisions, shed your bias. Try to understand the entire situation before making a snap judgment. Contemplate the other choices that are available. If someone is sharing their perspective, listen to them.
3. Place limits on your decisions
Quick, develop a plan for an article. Too many choices? Well, then develop an article about a recent political event. You found it easier to decide on a topic, didn’t you? Limitations allow us to narrow down our decisions. Even if these limitations are unnecessary, create them to help you land on an option faster. However, do not give yourself too many limitations, or you will stifle your creativity.
4. Don’t be too risk-averse
Research at Cornell University shows that adults will bulk from taking risks even if the odds lie in their favor. Being too risk-averse will stifle your growth potential. Just as one needs to take risks when making investments, you also need to take risks during the decision-making process.
Similar to buying stock for a bizarre plant-based meat company, high risk can result in a huge reward. Still, make sure to do your research and think things through before taking that leap.
5. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with others
Speaking to a colleague about a decision can inspire you by exposing you to a perspective you may not have previously considered. If someone questions or criticizes your idea, don’t take it personally. Instead, use their feedback constructively. We’re often protective of our ideas, shielding us from blind spots in our plans. A discussion session with someone you trust can remedy this.
6. Distract yourself and return
If you find yourself short on brainpower, take a breath and distract yourself with something else. If you are suffering from mental fatigue, your productivity will take a nosedive and you will not be able to make a sound decision until you give yourself some peace of mind.
Don’t let decision-making overwhelm you. Master it by being mindful, objective, and open to collaboration. By doing so, you and your ideas can greatly impact those around you.
This post was originally published on February 4, 2021.