We have to get by in life by making an endless string of decisions. The necessity of decisions is everywhere – at home, at work, on the way from one to another; health, relationships, and lifestyle require making decisions and are grounded in our past decisions. No wonder we need our decisiveness developed as well as it can be.
It is comparatively easy to collect necessary information, make a list of all possible options, gather valuable opinions, but then the time comes to arrive at a decision – and we are overwhelmed by responsibility and by the obligation to stick to one choice.
What problems make it such an arduous task?
- Overthinking, unable to stop
- Trying to find a perfect option
- Procrastinating, pretending to be busy with other concerns
- When the analysis is unable to go smoothly
- You have taken the decision but are unwilling to start acting on it
Do you recognize any of these processes blocking your way? Do you find that considering all the possibilities is apt to take unreasonably much time? That you can be snowed under all existing considerations?
We often need to get in touch with our intuition and be firm and resolute. Yes, it is easier said than done, but there is tenable advice on how to improve your decision-making abilities.
Be aware of what decisions are time-sensitive
In a situation pregnant with stress some decisions are likely to be time-sensitive. They have deadlines, which may add much to your stress. But some of the stress may be imposed by yourself, and may not be necessary at all.
Stress is basically a result of your own reaction to a particular situation. Some external factors that are pressing and exigent create quite a high level of stress.
What you can do is face the pressure and allot time to work out the situation in your mind. When you know that you are on your way to making a decision, it usually eases up stress.
Remember: there is NO “Right Way”
Many of us are perfectionists to some extent, wishing to make a decision that will settle the matter in hand once and for good. Sometimes there are such decisions, but mostly they are complicated, not very pleasant, and doubtful because of possible gray zones involving compromise. While some people do expect you to come up with perfect solutions, it is often challenging to do so.
What we can do every time is to remain realistic, and reasonable and understand the difference between finding a real solution and trying to keep everyone around pleased.
- Consider your decision’s possibility of causing fear or enraging your inner critic
- See if you are trying to find a real solution or avoid a loss of face, money or status
- Mind that any research on decision-related factors will be helpful
- Decisions don’t have to lead to outcomes that will be permanent; remember that you can change something later on
- Some decisions may be really frightening; nerve yourself to them and praise yourself for bearing difficulties
- Don’t take it too important
As you start to feel tortured and worn out by the responsibility of making decisions, you are liable to blow the importance of the problem out of proportion. It can become ominous, unsurpassable, the catastrophe of the year.
Now that the problem or its ramifications have loomed so large, you feel inferior, and these blockы contact with your analytical and decision-making abilities. Decisions can be difficult, and it’s not advisable to believe that they are even greater than they should be.
- Move away, breathe deeply and do some care for yourself
- According to your values and goals, reevaluate the importance of your options
- Imagine you are telling your friend about your problem – how would they respond?
- Remind yourself of your previous successful decisions to get inspired
- Take your time
We are often made to feel that we have to give an immediate reply – but actually, the case id quite different. You have time to ponder over your answer.
Avoid responding straightaway – it will produce a more solid impression, by the way. Tell the other fellow that you want to give earnest consideration to the situation.
Make fewer decisions
Making decisions is fatiguing, no doubt about it. Let’s see how many decisions we make each day – are all of them really so necessary? It may well be that you are tiring yourself uselessly. Maybe you can choose only those decisions that are imperative or pleasant.
See if these hints can help you take some decisions off your shoulders:
- In the morning and afternoon, have the same kind of meals.
- Fix the same daily schedule and keep to it.
- If considering what to eat presents a problem, make a list with rotations for the evenings; you can stock food according to the list, so it may save you shopping choices, too.
- Make your payments automated.
- Observe times, especially waking-up and going-to-bed times (which is very healthy, by the way!).
- A tip from Apple’s wizard Steve Jobs and Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg would be – why not wear the same kind of clothing? If you wish to keep your mind locked on other, grander ideas, just choose a simple getup and purchase a few things that will go well with it – your worries over what to wear are over!
- Go over your daily motions in your mind to see which of them are particularly vexatious; think whether you can do without them or make them solved in your stride. Then you will be more energetic about those that are crucial.
Cut down on options
The more options you have to deal with, the more stressful the situation can be. So if you can disregard some options, do it and see if things will go more smoothly.
You may have to get embroiled in a choice with what may seem to include an indefinite number of options – in this case cutting off options becomes a necessity. Work out a set of criteria that may help you distinguish between disposable and indispensable options.
In the process of sifting options, it may become clear which ones are really important in any given case, further facilitating decision-making.
Role models can help, seek expertise
While minimizing your stress, don’t make it your very own job solely! There are professionals, coaches, role models and other people that know the ropes and can make your life easier and simpler through consulting. Again, that will go to save your mind power for important things!
You will undoubtedly find a number of people who will be only too happy to set you on the right path by sharing their experiences.
Come to terms with deciding “no”
When real factors of a situation are inextricably tangled with what you would like – and wouldn’t like – to do, it hampers decision-making greatly. Don’t shy away from saying “no” – just give a good thought to the possible consequences of your disagreeing (and agreeing as well, for that matter).
In large families, there are more angles to consider, so making decisions becomes more difficult. In business matters, there can also be a number of interested parties or a whole network of businessmen. These are cases when decision fatigue is bound to set in.
With a lot of people involved, the necessity of saying “no” can be even more imperative. To be firm with negation, you will need to realize clearly that there are things you won’t be able to tackle and agreeing to them you make your task indefinitely more cumbersome. Tell yourself not to enhance stress and refuse.
Own your decisions
A mighty fatiguing situation can be when, having arrived at a decision, you get besieged by doubts and start having second thoughts. This kind of coming back definitely creates plenty of strain on your nerves.
The best bet is to settle with the first choice, not giving yourself permission to juggle second thoughts and wonder if you should change your mind. What’s done is done!