How to Make Decisions


Making decisions is always difficult, regardless of whether they relate to food in the restaurant or the way your company should develop. Here are the three techniques that can help you make any decisions about the household, personal, or work issues quickly and easily.


You are sitting in a restaurant and looking through the menu. All the dishes look so delicious that you do not know what to choose. Maybe, you should order them all?

You have certainly encountered such problems. If it is not about eating, it may be something else. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to make a choice between equally attractive options. On the other hand, the options may not be the same because each of them is attractive in its own way. For example, when you decide how to choose a salad on the menu, one of them may look nice, the second will be light and tasty, and the third may be rich in protein.

How to Decide

If such simple and minor things as the choice of a salad in a restaurant take up our time and energy, the serious and important decisions we face at work and in our personal lives will be a real problem.

What products should you advertise, and which ones should you reject? Whom will you promote and who must be fired? How should you start this difficult conversation?

After making your choice, the new one appears immediately. If you decide to start a difficult conversation, you choose when to do this, how to reach the interlocutor (in person, by phone or by email), to talk in private or in public.

This is an endless series of important decisions that cause fatigue and the fear of wrong choice. How to stop it? Here are the three techniques that will help you efficiently make decisions at all levels of life.

Develop habits to avoid household decisions

The idea is that if you develop a habit of eating salad for lunch, you will not have to decide what to order in a cafe. Or, if there is a large selection of salads, you can take the next salad on the menu list every day. Then you will taste everything and will not overeat.

By developing the habits that relate to such simple everyday affairs, you save energy for making more complex and important decisions. If you get used to eating a salad for breakfast, you will not have to waste your willpower fighting the desire to eat something fatty or fried.

But this is the way of dealing with predictable affairs. What about making unexpected decisions?

“If – then”: a method of facing unpredictable dilemmas

For example, someone constantly interrupts your speech and you are not sure how to react to it and whether it is necessary to react at all. According to the “if – then” method, you can decide that if this person interferes two more times, you will make him/her a polite remark and then react in a rude way if it does not work.

These two methods help to make most of the decisions that we confront every day. But they are pointless when it comes to strategic planning issues, such as how to respond to the competitors’ threat, which products to invest more money in, or where the budget can be reduced. These are the solutions, which can be delayed for a week, a month or even a year, hindering the development of the company. They cannot be defeated with a habit, and the “if – then” method is not suitable. As a rule, there is no clear and correct answer to these questions.

The management team members often make such decisions. They collect the information, analyze the pros and cons, wait and watch the situation, hoping that something will point to the right decision.

And if we assume that there is no right answer, will it help to make a decision quickly?

Imagine that you need to make a decision in the next 15 minutes. Not tomorrow, not next week, when you collect enough information, or a month later when you negotiate with everyone involved in the issue.

Do you have a quarter of an hour to make a decision? Act immediately.

This is the third way, which helps to make difficult decisions about long-term planning.

Use your time

If you have researched into the problem and realized that there are equally attractive solutions, assume that there is no right answer, set yourself a time limit and simply select one of the options. If testing one of the solutions does not require much, select this solution and check it for yourself. But if this is not possible, choose any of the two options as soon as possible: the time you spend on useless thoughts can be used in a better way.

Of course, you may disagree, saying that if you wait, you may get the right answer. Maybe, but you will surely spend precious time waiting for the clarification of the issue. Besides, waiting will make you procrastinate and delay other related decisions, reduce productivity, and slow down the development of the company.

Just make a decision and move on.

Try it now. If you have an issue that you have been putting off for a long time, give yourself three minutes to do it. If you have a lot of similar issues, write a list of them and set the time for each decision.

You will feel a little bit better with each decision you make, anxiety will decrease, and you will feel that you are moving forward.

So, you are choosing a light salad. Was it the right choice? Who knows… At least you have had something to eat; you are no longer hungry and are not still choosing a dish form the menu! And how do you make difficult choices?