For some of us, making important decisions can be difficult whether it is to move to a new state or if we want to ask our boss for a raise. How to make important decisions without burning out our mental health can seem impossible but it’s not. There are many factors that can contribute to the results such as how much time you have to make the decision and how it will impact your life—but these tips will reassure you that you can make these decisions. It’s important to know that you don’t have to make them on your own as well. Fun fact: “Sometime in the midst of the last century, Chester Barnard, a retired telephone executive and author of The Functions of the Executive, imported the term “decision making” from the lexicon of public administration into the business world. There it began to replace narrower descriptors such as “resource allocation” and “policy making,”” Harvard Business Review. The term wasn’t invented that long ago; however, people have been making life changing decisions for centuries dating back to the Sumerians.
What Affects Our Decisions?
Very Well Mind wrote an article about the psychology of decision making and how we can feel tempted to just flip a coin and get it over with. However, when it comes to accepting a job or buying an expensive addition to our life—it is not that simple. They write: “When making a decision in such a situation, people tend to employ two different decision-making strategies: the availability heuristic and the representativeness heuristic. Remember, a heuristic is a rule-of-thumb mental short-cut that allows people to make decisions and judgments quickly.” The two factors can be similar but different in the sense when it comes to making a decision. To summarize heuristic decision making, we base it off of the past. What has happened to other people? How many people have loved getting food from here? If it’s a mostly positive response from your mental thinking, you go with it—even if it means stepping on the gas through a yellow light in an intersection. Again, this is a quick thinking mental tactic that we use in everyday life decisions. The Representativeness Heuristic is a comparable strategy. Rather than basing it off of past situations and events in life, you base it around people and other components. Are you more likely to get dress coded for wearing bright yellow over the girl wearing black? Then you end up wearing black instead. These are just two simple ways of how to make important deviousness, but there are dozens more!
Strategies to Make the Decisions
There are many things that we can do to make an important decision, but what helps us make it effectively? Here is a list I have compiled of helpful ways to make one:
- Pros and cons list
- Venn Diagram
- Life map—ask yourself how your life will benefit this decision one year from now
- Elimination by Aspects
- Tell your friends and family and ask for guidance
- Evaluate your past decisions and see if this one will benefit you or if it won’t
- TDODAR decision making tool
- and many more!
There are endless options for all types of mindsets and skill levels. Also, depending on time, you can use more than one to make sure you have made the best decision for you.
There are many answers on how to make an important decision, but you have to remember to do whatever is best for you. In the long run, you are in charge of every decision that comes to you. We make mistakes because that’s a requirement in human error—but don’t become discouraged. There are plenty of tools and people to steer you in the right direction. Also, decision fatigue is a real danger when it comes to making decisions. So make sure you check out our previous article to avoid getting it. What strategies have you done to make an important decision? Let us know and give us some ideas!