blog articlesWord & Deed

3 Ways to Make Faster Decisions Today

3 Principles of Fast Decisions

Every­one wants to be right all of the time. We don’t want to hear “I told you so,” when things don’t work out the way we or they thought. But there’s a cost to obsess­ing over blame and mak­ing the “best pos­si­ble deci­sion on the infor­ma­tion avail­able.” That cost is san­i­ty. When we hes­i­tate to make deci­sions, they pile up on us, adding pres­sure and con­fu­sion to our lives. They clut­ter our desks, they crowd our inbox­es and they make it hard to con­cen­trate on any one thing.

On the oth­er hand, fast deci­sions orga­nize and declut­ter our lives. We cut things that we might need, because we’re bru­tal about mak­ing the deci­sion, even if we don’t always know it’ll work out. We say “no” to peo­ple, even if they don’t under­stand why. And we don’t wor­ry that some­one will sec­ond-guess some­thing because we’re too busy to emo­tion­al­ize the deci­sion.

And as a bonus, decid­ing is how we learn best. Deci­sions help us to sum­ma­rize and use our under­stand­ing, push­ing it and chal­leng­ing it until it becomes strong and pure.

Get in the Habit of Deciding

It takes dis­ci­pline, which is why so few peo­ple do it. But if you want to get orga­nized and pro­duc­tive, here are a few prin­ci­ples.

Put the bur­den on oth­ers by mak­ing a deci­sion. Why should you have to car­ry the full bur­den of defend­ing each deci­sion to every­one around you, respond­ing to their every, obscure cri­tique? This works even bet­ter when you have peo­ple on the oth­er side of your deci­sion who will argue with you. If you threat­en to kill some­thing that needs to be killed, and they step up and save it by mak­ing it into some­thing good, then great.

  • Decide to approve the bud­get when oth­ers dis­agree. Let them make bet­ter argu­ments for its approval.
  • Decide to fire that dude who isn’t per­form­ing. Let some­one else go to bat for him if they want to help him suc­ceed.
  • Kill their pet project that is just tak­ing up space. Let them step up on their own if they want it so bad­ly.

Don’t always give rea­sons, but some­times do.

  • Give rea­sons when you trust those around you to be ratio­nal and focused on the right things. They’ll use your rea­sons to come up with bet­ter think­ing.
  • Don’t give rea­sons when you’re sur­round­ed by trou­ble­mak­ers or peo­ple who are act­ing self­ish­ly. They’ll waste your time and ener­gy, intro­duc­ing emo­tion and neg­a­tiv­i­ty to manip­u­late you. And those are nev­er good rea­sons to reverse a deci­sion.

Make a deci­sion, and make it quick­ly. Seri­ous­ly. Right now. What’s clut­ter­ing your desk or your mind? Even if you can’t know for sure how it’s gonna turn out, make a deci­sion about it.

  • Throw that report away.
  • Put a reminder to hire that per­son by Fri­day if no new info comes in by then.
  • Decide the one sen­tence you want to say and pick up the phone and call.

And when you’re not the deci­sion­mak­er, have a rec­om­men­da­tion and opin­ion. This will build your deci­sion-mak­ing pow­ers, in research, log­ic and bold­ness. It will pre­pare you for lead­er­ship when the time comes.

Dealing with the Emotions of Others

While you’re at it, hold oth­ers account­able for their emo­tions and hid­den motives. Don’t fall into the emo­tion­al trap, “Well, it’ll real­ly make them mad, and it’s not that big of a deal for me, so I should make a dif­fer­ent deci­sion.” If it’s your deci­sion, make it, and then let oth­ers wor­ry about how sad it makes some­one. Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness destroys deci­sive­ness and lead­er­ship, so treat every­one equal­ly, includ­ing when it’s time to hold them account­able. And don’t let them manip­u­late you emo­tion­al­ly; make them use words.

Why it Should be You Who Decides?

Many of us think that, to be a hum­ble per­son, we always need to lis­ten, gath­er more facts and leave the dis­cus­sion open. And while there are times for con­sid­er­a­tion, espe­cial­ly with big deci­sions, the fol­low­ing is also true:

Rely on your own opin­ion. It should be as good as anyone’s else. When once you reach a con­clu­sion abide by it. Let there be no doubt, or waver­ing in your judg­ment. If you are uncer­tain about every deci­sion you make, you will be sub­ject to harass­ing doubts and fears which will ren­der your judg­ment of lit­tle val­ue. The man that decides accord­ing to what he thinks right and who learns from every mis­take acquires a well bal­anced mind that gets the best results. He gains the con­fi­dence of oth­ers. He is known as the man that knows what he wants, and not as one that is as change­able as the weath­er. The man of today wants to do busi­ness with the man that he can depend upon. Uncer­tain­ties in the busi­ness world are meet­ing with more dis­fa­vor. Reli­able firms want to do busi­ness with men of known qual­i­ties, with men of firm­ness, judg­ment and reli­a­bil­i­ty.” –Theron Q. Dumont

To put it anoth­er way: believe and remem­ber that you’re qual­i­fied. Is there any rea­son some­one else should be mak­ing the deci­sion when you’re in the mid­dle of it? Unless some­one else is both qual­i­fied and able (emo­tion­al­ly) to make the deci­sion, this one’s on you.

If you’re the one with author­i­ty, make the deci­sion you think is right; don’t go with con­sen­sus. This is tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty. Don’t put your­self in the posi­tion where you thought some­thing would be best, went with what some­one else said (to be safe and gain con­sen­sus), but found out you made the wrong deci­sion. Own it. And if you’re mak­ing “bad” deci­sions, and some­one has the pow­er to take it away from you, let them use that pow­er. But you focus on what you think is right.

Get Organized and Get Momentum

You want to see your life become more orga­nized? Do you miss hav­ing free time and time to just enjoy the blue sky and the peo­ple around you? You don’t need alco­hol or drugs. Just learn to make faster deci­sions and get work done quick­er. If you do, you’ll be able to get more done, be more present (less dis­tract­ed) and enjoy life and the peo­ple around you.

And if you have thoughts on this, dis­cuss them with me in Slack.