In this blog post, we’re going to talk about developing better decision-making skills, and I will share with you 4 tips on how to make fast decisions without feeling overwhelmed.
Before we get into the solutions, let’s talk a little bit about two very important aspects of decision making: decision fatigue and analysis-paralysis.
Decision fatigue is something we all struggle with on a day-to-day basis. Let’s illustrate your daily willpower as a full battery.
You wake up refreshed (hopefully) and start making decisions: for example, the first one is whether or not to hit the snooze button, the second is whether or not to meditate, the third is whether or not to make your bed when you get up, etc.
As the day goes on, your willpower battery gets drained and at some point, you don’t have any left. If you spend too much energy on making small decisions, you won’t be able to invest enough time and energy into making the big ones.
Many successful people choose to wear the same outfits every day or eat the same meals to avoid decision fatigue and have more energy and clarity when it comes to making important decisions about their businesses.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about analysis-paralysis.
You’re probably familiar with the term, but where does it actually come from and what can you do about it?
When you overthink a certain problem, you’re ‘stuck’ in the planning phase. Your body pumps up adrenaline, which needs to be released in the form of taking action.
If you don’t take action, though, this energy gets stuck in your body and you quickly become overwhelmed by the sensations you feel.
The best way to get out of analysis-paralysis is to take immediate action. But if you have decision fatigue as well as analysis-paralysis, that’s a really bad combination. The good news is I have some great solutions. The bad news is your brain needs repetition so the change won’t happen overnight.
Now, let’s get into the solutions:
1. Determine the Type of Decision You Need to Make
When you have to make a decision, try to categorize it as small, medium, or big.
For example, a small decision is whether or not you should go to the movies with your friends.
A medium one is whether or not you should take on a client.
A big one will have serious consequences and could involve other people: for example, whether or not you should marry someone.
2. Give Yourself a Time Frame
If it’s a small decision, 30 seconds is the maximum amount of time you should dwell on it. Here are some examples of small decisions: Should I wear these earrings today? Should I order from this website or that website? Should I go out or stay in tonight?
If you consider yourself an indecisive person and every decision gives you mild anxiety, remind yourself that these types of decisions are not that important. You probably won’t even remember making them the next day.
For more important decisions, let’s call them medium, give yourself 30 minutes to one hour. Something that helps me out with those is making the old-school pros and cons list. Take a sheet of paper and write down all the pros and cons you can think of in two columns.
In the example with the potential client, ask yourself some questions to determine if you’re a good fit. Can you help them or should you refer them to someone else who could be a better fit? Do they seem like a person who’s reliable and self-aware?, etc.
After you’re done with your pros and cons list, check in with yourself. At the end of the day, this is just a list: it’s rational. It’s always best to go with your gut feeling, so make sure to notice what happens in your body when you make your final decision.
As far as big decisions go, I wouldn’t advise you to make them immediately. What you can do to speed up the process is ask your subconscious to help you out and stop thinking about it until you get the answer in a few days.
For example, if you want to start a business but you’re not sure whether or not you should quit your job, tell yourself the following:
“Help me make a decision on whether or not I should quit my job while I start my business.”
While you’re telling your subconscious mind to point you in the right direction by focusing your attention on the things that help you make a decision, you can seek additional information, of course.
See what other successful entrepreneurs have done, maybe talk to someone, hire a mentor or a coach to understand your limiting beliefs better and see what gets you stuck.
Your answer may not come easily and you may have to force yourself to make the decision at some point, that’s why depending on your situation, you need to think of a time frame. It may be a few days, a week, even a month. But don’t dwell on it too much, because you will get into analysis-paralysis and waste a lot of time.
If you want to work on your limiting beliefs in more depth, download this free coaching tool to reframe your negative thoughts:
3. Realize That There Is No Such Thing as the Right Decision
Many people can’t make fast decisions because they fear the potential consequences. We all want to be right, to choose the best option, that’s part of our human nature. But, if you zoom out and look at the bigger picture: How would you know if you made the right decision or not?
Even if you look back and rationalize that you’ve made the right choice, you still can’t be sure. If you’ve watched movies such as ‘The Butterfly Effect’ or ‘Mr. Nobody’, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Every day we make series of choices that lead us closer to our goals or even further away. Making better, healthier choices, may lead to better results in the long run. But we shouldn’t forget that we don’t have control over the circumstances.
Bad things happen, unexpected things happen, and no matter how carefully we make decisions, there’s still risk involved. Instead of being paralyzed by it, we can choose to feel liberated and understand that life can never be predicted.
And that’s not the point of it anyway.Life is not meant to be understood. It’s meant to be lived. Click To Tweet
4. Snap into Action Using the 2-Minute Rule and the 5-Second Rule
Once you make a decision, you need to take immediate action, even if it’s doing something small such as making a to-do list for the day. If you don’t, you will still be in the limbo of planning and not doing, and we don’t want that to happen.
👉 The 2-Minute Rule
The 2-minute rule was created by David Allen, author and productivity consultant. Here’s what it is:
If something takes you less than 2 minutes, do it now.
Its simplicity is what makes it so effective. It helps with beating procrastination as well, which I will definitely make a video about on my YouTube channel, so stay tuned for that.
👉 The 5-Second Rule
And the 5-second rule is a concept developed by Mel Robbins, book author and motivational speaker. Here’s what it is in a nutshell:
If you have an impulse to act on a goal, count down from 5 and do it.
If you don’t physically move towards it, your brain will kill the idea and find something else to focus on. I find that it works incredibly well to get me out of bed early in the morning. 5,4,3,3,2,1 and no more snoozing… 🙂