Make Smarter Decisions Faster with these Reliable Tips


We are making decisions every day, all the time!
Even when we are not making decisions, we are deciding to stay the same.
Astonishing, right?
We get up, and our brain starts its decisions making process, without us even realizing it sometimes.
Should I shower or my hair can manage another day?
What should I have for breakfast?
I should start my workout today, or maybe from this weekend?
Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!
It’s like our mind is constantly on a treadmill.
But these are the decisions you can make in a spur of a moment. Why?
Because they are not that big of a deal, what you have for breakfast is not going to affect you in a longer run gravely.
Quite often, we have to make bigger, life-changing, and smart decisions.
And what happens then?
Our brains paralyze!
Not always, not for everyone, but quite often, for most of us.
Should I take this job that is paying me well but is boring? Or should I take the other one with mediocre pay but interesting learning opportunities?
I have good savings now. Should I invest and grow my money or should I buy that car I have always wanted?
See, bigger and life-altering decisions?
If you are someone who can’t even decide what to have for dinner tonight, we have some very useful tips to make decisions faster, and not to forget, wisely.
Here’s what we have got for you:

  • Paint a Mental Picture and Don’t Ignore the Landscape
  • Apply the 10/10/10 Rule and See What Changes
  • Think of the Worse That Could Happen
  • Jot down Pros and Cons
  • Picture Your Ultimate Goal
  • Give Yourself a Time Limit
  • Focus Only on the Things You Can Control
  • See If the Decision can be Reversed.
  • Filter out Your Choices
  • Embrace Uncertainty

Let’s look into them one by one.

Paint a Mental Picture and Don’t Ignore the Landscape

Often while we are making some vital decisions, we focus on one particular outcome that we are hoping to achieve and consider everything else like background noise.
That background noise can seriously be what you are hoping to achieve from your decision.
Hence, paint a detailed mental picture of what you are hoping to gain from the decision. However, don’t turn a blind eye to what stands in the background.
It is quite common to overlook certain things in light of the shiniest thing.
For example, you have got an opportunity for a new job, it pays more, it is related to your field, and you have the required experience.
But it is not in your state. It requires you to move.
You instantly picture yourself, earning and saving more, exploring new places, and making new work friends.
That’s a pretty shinny picture. And tempting too.
But do you see what’s in the background?

  • Accommodation expenses
  • Traveling expenses
  • Living expenses (food, grocery, amenities)

Would you really be saving enough?
If the background is in line with the portrait, go for it.

Apply the 10/10/10 Rule and See What Changes

The 10/10/10 rule is one of the most practical decision-making strategies and requires you to analyze your decision in three time-frames.
1.How will I feel about this decision 10 minutes from now?
2.How about ten months from now.
3.What about ten years from now?
By following this rule, you eliminate the element of regret from your life.
Something may appeal to your right now, and you make a snap decision in its favour, only to find out how much you regret about it in the future.
For example, your friends convince you to buy stocks in a start-up company you have limited knowledge about.
You may feel quite positive about it 10 minutes from now, but totally regret it ten months or years down the road when the start-up idea didn’t hit the market.
10/10/10 rule makes you think about how you will feel about a decision in the future. And if you envision even slightest of regret, you can choose another path.
Remember, always make decisions that prioritize your inner peace.

Think of the Worse That Could Happen

Often we are afraid to make decisions because we don’t want to come face to face with our fears.
‘’What if this is a wrong decision and life only goes downhill after this?’’, we assume.
This tip right here is one of the best tips in making bold and challenging decisions.
Ponder over all the things that can go wrong!
This is not to deviate from an idea but to prepare you for the unforeseen circumstances.
When you are aware of all the possible things that can go against you, your mind automatically starts working out its solution, and you are better prepared to take it and deal with it.
It is among the art of conscious decision making.
You can confidently step towards your decision, and anything unfavourable will not hit you like a hurricane.
If you think that worst-case scenarios are too horrible and you cannot manage them aptly, you can always decide against it.
You are only one right decision away from a different life. It’s your superpower.

Jot down Pros and Cons

You can improve decision-making skills quite effectively by listing down the Pros and Cons of a decision whenever you are stuck.
It’s simple yet practical and clears your head.
Sometimes there is no right or wrong choice, and you just have to pick something, but even that is exhausting.
For example, whether I should invest through Financial Advisor or Robo-Advisor, provided I don’t have sufficient knowledge and insight into market trends.
Now there is really no wrong or right answer.
Both are there to do their job and help you manage your finances.
What you can do is, jot down their Pros and Cons and weigh them.
See who has more pros and whose cons are more likely to harm you.
If the Pros list of one starts getting longer than the other, you would already have your answer.

Picture Your Ultimate Goal

It is often wise to align all your decisions according to your ultimate goal, Especially if you are taking work-related, health-related, or financial decisions.
When given a number of choices, always ask yourself which choice will take you closer to your goal, and you would most certainly have your answer.
For example, your goal is to be financially independent. Make sure all your daily-life decisions in spending and budgeting are steered towards it.
If you go overboard and make an opposite decision, it can take you on a wrong path, and coming back to the right track can take a while then.
It is no walk in a park to make important decisions quickly, but with the ultimate goal in your mind, your gut would instantly know what to do.

Give Yourself a Time Limit

When you give yourself a self-imposed time limit, you automatically ask your mind to work faster.
Every time you are making a decision, give yourself a time limit, set the timer, and start.
The limited-time you have will make you go through all your options and its pros and cons quickly and filter out your options.
You will arrive at your decision quickly then you are used to.
It will also prevent your mind from wandering here and there and get distracted by futile thoughts, giving you only one thing to focus on.
While this tip is quite easy to follow and useful, it is generally suitable for less complicated life decisions.
For more important decisions, it’s better to analyze your options fully, take your time, and reach a decision.

Focus Only on the Things You Can Control

While deciding about something, there are so many things to consider. So many factors can play a part.
But there are only so many that you can control.
Don’t create a mind clutter with everything.
Only emphasize on the things that are in your hands, things you can control with your power.
Worrying about things that you are unable to control will not only delay the decision-making process but will also over-complicate matters for you and put you in analysis paralysis.
Balance emotions while deciding something are crucial to intuitive decision making.
Focusing on what is in your direct control can also help you keep your emotions in check and ease your process.
Your temporary emotions can damage your permanent decisions. Don’t let that happen.

See If the Decision can be Reversed.

There are two types of decisions; permanent which cannot be changed and reversible which can be changed if deemed unsuitable.
Now, stick to a simple rule.
Don’t overthink a decision if it can be reversed. Be quick about it.
If it does not turn out as you hoped it to be, you can always change it. Just decide, implement, evaluate, and re-decide.
But on the other hand, if the decision is irreversible and you cannot take it back, don’t rush it.
This simple trick can help save a lot of time and speed up your decision making.

Filter out Your Choices

Decision making is difficult these days with the number of choices we have now.
Take an easy example; You want to go out and eat. Now you have like a hundred choices of the places you can opt.
Similarly, when you go out for shopping, you have aisles upon aisles to select one shirt, there are thousands of colours and designs. You get stuck.
An easy solution to overcome this obstacle is to filter out your choices to 3 or 4 maximum and forget about the existence of others.
Among these 3 and 4, see what you like the most, and what does your gut says.
Sometimes following your gut is the best you can do to come out of unnecessarily complex situations. Also, mute your mind to the voices of others.
Be confident and happy and what you chose for yourself. Don’t let someone’s opinion make things hard for you.

Embrace Uncertainty

Quick decision-making skills take time to acquire and polish.
You can be very vigilant in your decision-making process and make the best decision keeping all things into consideration, and it might not turn out perfectly favourable.
It’s okay. Embrace uncertainty.
When you are trying your luck with something new, it is not always possible to move forward with 100 accurate information, and there are not guaranteed protocols out there to follow for successful results.
While 80% of the things go in your favour, there is a 20% chance it won’t.
Accept the uncertainty and learn from it to keep polishing your decision-making skills.

Bottom Line

Making a smart and practical decision about your life is an exhaustive process.
Emotions, choices, regrets, and circumstances all come to play when deciding which option to pick.
Not everyone is quick and well-witted to do it.
Apply all or some of these tips to see a considerable improvement in your decision making.
Make smart decisions quickly and with more confidence.

author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jun Sing Tan

I help young adults and working professionals achieve their financial goals with a full suite of risk management and wealth accumulation solutions. I firmly believe that financial education should be easy and achievable for all. I am committed to service and hope to be your one stop financial solution.

author

Jun Sing Tan

November 21, 2020

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