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23 Mar

Make a quick decision

Datum: 2011-03-23 14:52

Let us say you are faced with the pos­si­bil­i­ty to make a deci­sion which will affect your busi­ness, the project you are run­ning or your job. You hes­i­tate and decide to wait and see, and post­pone your final deci­sion. Per­haps things will be clear­er in the fall.” When you are halfway through the fall, you think well, it will soon be Christ­mas”, so you choose to wait until New Years to make up your mind. At that point you will have bet­ter a per­spec­tive on how the new year will unfold. 
Time pass­es and for every day you post­pone mak­ing the deci­sion, you are miss­ing out on the new oppor­tu­ni­ties the deci­sion would lead to. 
Few things are as inef­fi­cient as not mak­ing up your mind at all. 
It need not be a yes”. A no” can lead to new oppor­tu­ni­ties as well.
What mat­ters is that you make the deci­sion at all, since by now, it is def­i­nite­ly crunch time”.

Buridan’s ass” (Being in between two bun­dles of hay)

Effi­cien­cy is about achiev­ing what we want in our busi­ness, our project or our job as eas­i­ly as pos­si­ble. We want to move on and get things done. If we do not make deci­sions, the area con­cerned will be kept float­ing; it will come to a halt and remain in lim­bo. We are left stand­ing like Buridan’s ass, like a don­key in between two bun­dles of hay, unable to make a decision. 
Get­ting out of lim­bo does not need to be about say­ing yes or no, but can also be about deter­min­ing that you need more infor­ma­tion. So go get it. Don’t just wait for the deci­sion to become ripe or eas­i­er to make. Sure, hypo­thet­i­cal­ly, it could, if some­thing occurs which acci­den­tal­ly pro­vides you with the miss­ing infor­ma­tion, but if you get in con­trol over the sit­u­a­tion and get the infor­ma­tion you need, you will be able to make the call faster and there­by move on in the area which the deci­sion con­cerns. If you hes­i­tate, get more infor­ma­tion, do not just wait for a bet­ter day to come along when you mag­i­cal­ly will see things clearer.

If you make the wrong call – do it over

It is nat­ur­al to feel reluc­tant to make a deci­sion – it tends to feel so final. But, very few deci­sions are irrev­o­ca­ble – most are pos­si­ble to redo. It is not a shame­ful or bad thing to change your mind if you expe­ri­ence some­thing which leads you to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion. If you have good struc­ture, it is eas­i­er to remake your deci­sion. You can for instance eas­i­ly remake a cer­tain mate­r­i­al or a par­tic­u­lar doc­u­ment, since it is easy to find the last ver­sion which you weren’t too hap­py about, come to think of it.

The Alfie Atkins-syndrome

Do you tend to think that you are just going to do [that some­thing] before I can [make a decision/​do the next thing]”? If this is so, try think­ing: Do I real­ly need to do this? What would hap­pen if I did not do this first, but took action on the task right away?”.
When I catch myself think­ing that I am just going to do this first…”, usu­al­ly it isn’t actu­al­ly nec­es­sary to do what I tell myself I need to do before I can get to the actu­al task. It’s as if once I have told myself that this or that needs to be done first, I tend to stick to it obsti­nate­ly, instead of just chang­ing my mind. Until now.

Do this

  1. Take out your project-overview with all your larg­er com­mit­ments listed
  2. With regards to the items which are cur­rent­ly in lim­bo, make a deci­sion. You have three, and only three, options: 
    • Yes
    • No
    • I need more infor­ma­tion, mean­ing How/​what/​when/​who…” and what I am going to do right now to get this infor­ma­tion is to “…”.
  3. If you choose option c, do what you have defined as the next task right away or add it to your to-do-list

And the result will be this

You will feel and be freer, both lit­er­al­ly and fig­u­ra­tive­ly speak­ing. Your stride will here­on after be a lit­tle smoother and with a bounce in your step. What amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties your final deci­sions will lead to, nei­ther you nor I can know, but that these new oppor­tu­ni­ties will show them­selves, is an undis­putable fact.

How do you do it?

What is your way of keep­ing track of the deci­sions you need to make and mak­ing sure you don’t pro­cras­ti­nate mak­ing them for no good reason?
Feel free to leave a com­ment below.