I'm a seriously indecisive person and I’m well aware of it. If I’m out at a new restaurant or a café for a meal, it will take me ages to pick what I want. It’s not my last meal ever, but I also never want to make a poor choice. Which brings me to the point of this article – how to make the best decisions all the time.
First of all, let’s be realistic. You’re never going to make the perfect decision every single time but with a few tweaks to your thought process and decision- making process, you’ll see that it can be easier to make a better decision.
Figure out how your decisions impact your long-term goals.
This is especially pertinent when you’re out for breakfast. Sure, those pancakes covered in maple syrup & ice-cream look amazing but if your long-term goal is to lose a few pounds by summer then decision made – poached eggs with healthy sides or an acai bowl it is. When you make everyday decisions with your long-term goals in mind, it will definitely eliminate some of the choices makings options seem less overwhelming.
Keep those paradoxes in mind…
Think of the paradox of satisficers vs. maximisers. Wait the what-what? It’s a concept created in 1956 by economist Herbert Simon. In short, satisficers are happy with an adequate solution while maximisers won’t stop until they have the optimal solution.
Maximisers research over and over even if they’ve seen a product or option that meets their requirements – they have to know if there is a better/less expensive/higher quality alternative out there. So basically, you’re a perfectionist! I know I can drift into maximiser territory every now and then. The problem is, maximisers tend to not be as satisfied with their final purchase/choice than satisficers. Sometimes the adequate solution and not the optimal solution, is the better choice.
Trust your gut…
When making decisions, it’s important to trust your gut. Whether or not you realize it consciously, deep down you probably already know what is the best decision for you to make. The perfect example is if you’re switching jobs. If you’ve been offered two positions and one is at a lower salary but is in the field you want to create your career in, you’re in a bit of a conundrum.
I’ve been in this position before and 9 times out of 10 whilst consciously I’ve been tossing over the two jobs, deep down I’ve already chosen the lower salary/inconvenient commute one over the other because it’s directly in the field I want to work in or is at a fantastic global company I’ve only dreamed of working for. In short, your gut knows better than you’re brain most of the time.
Stop giving yourself more decisions to make…
Another easy way to make decision making a cinch is to simply limit the amount of decisions you have to make. Steve Jobs did this in a very obvious way – he wore the same outfit every day for years – jeans and a turtleneck. Science has shown us that our decision-making ability is finite and Jobs knew this.
He would rather focus his decision-making on new features for the brand new iPhone than choosing what to wear first thing in the morning. The easiest way for you to do this is to pick out your clothes the night before and pre-make as much of your breakfast and lunch that you can. Taking decisions out of your day is the key here. Just remember to check the weather forecast first – you don’t want your outfit to include open-toed sandals on a rainy day!
Be in the right frame of mind!
And always, remember to make decisions when you’re in a neutral/good frame of mind. Any decision made when you’re upset, angry, crazy-tired or frustrated is never going to turn out to be the best decision of your life. In fact, it could end up being the worst decision of your life and no one wants that.
If you can’t delay the decision, get some advice from someone who’s a little more levelheaded at that moment or try to go for the most neutral of choices – you don’t want to end up firing someone (or yourself!) for a poor decision.