A lot of clutter and paper pile ups are due to people not wanting to make a decision. Many decision making problems stem from the worry that you will make the "wrong" decision. Things need to be done perfectly and you need to stay in control at all times. So you procrastinate.
But, not making a decision is costly. You are staying stuck. You miss opportunities. You waste time. You annoy people.
We need to remember that most of our daily decisions are reversible. If things don’t go how you would like, you can change direction.
So the first thing, is to change thinking from, "I have to get this decision right" to "There is no right decision. I will either get the outcome I want or I will have learned what doesn’t bring me my outcome."
This is one of my favorite decision making tools, the Six Hats.
I also like to brainstorm and research many different options. But, I limit my research time to a specific time or I would spend hours doing the research for one little decision.
Base your decision making time on how important the decision to make is. Many people, especially perfectionists, give all decisions the same weight. That’s because they think they can’t make any mistakes – even with the clothes they put on in the morning.
Once you decide, take action. If decisions don’t bring you the results you want, learn from it, correct it right away and move on. Most things take trial and error to create the outcome you want. No one gets it right all the time. And this is not a bad thing. Who do we think we are, Masters of the Universe?
Let’s say you need to choose a new bank.
You research the local and online banks. You talk to a banker friend. You know what are the most important things you want in your bank.
Now this is where many people waffle. What if I choose the wrong bank? What if I end up moving banks again? And they sit on the decision so long they could have moved banks 3 or 4 times by now.
So choose the bank that comes closest to looking like it will meet your needs. Do the 6 hats exercise from above.
You will either like the bank. Or you decide it is letting you down and move banks again.
Now not all decisions are simple or easy to make. And some can have consequences you don’t want. But, most of the time not deciding isn’t the answer. We have to make the best decision we know how, with the information we have and take action.
Don’t let fear stop you from making decisions. You won’t figure everything out in this lifetime. But, you will be further away from knowing what works, if you don’t make decisions and don’t take action.
Strengthen your decision making muscle by starting small. What are some little decisions you have been putting off?