Decisiveness is a quality that we all need at times – even those of us who seem to be permanently stuck in analysis paralysis. You already make some decisions fast – or at least fast enough – otherwise you wouldn’t move from your computer or eat food or do any of the multitude of other things we all do in life, often without much thought or apparent decision making.
1. Make small decisions fast
Some decisions really don’t make much difference to our lives. Whether to take small or large sips of your coffee, whether to take route A or route B when they both take near enough the same time, that kind of thing.
So make it a rule that if something is fairly unimportant, you’re not going to spend much time making the decision.
That goes for lots of things – inexpensive stuff you buy on Amazon that you spend hours reading every single review in minute detail is a common trap I see people fall into.
Choosing the flavour of soup or the precise sides you’re going to have in a restaurant is another.
Sure the decisions will affect you.
But not much.
And if you take forever to make even the smallest decision you’re just training yourself to take even longer on the big decisions.
2. Set a time limit
With the bigger decisions, it’s easy to procrastinate and tell yourself that you’ll make the final decision tomorrow. And, of course, when tomorrow arrives, the decision magically gets moved another day into the future. And so on.
So for big decisions, set yourself a time limit.
And stick to it!
It could be an hour, a day, a week or even more.
But set that limit.
And if the time limit is more than a week or so ahead, ask yourself if the decision really is that important.
Some decisions are – choosing your partner for the rest of your life is probably one – but most aren’t.
So make a decision. Even if it’s not the 100% best possible decision (truth be told, it almost certainly never will be). So long as it’s close enough, go with it.
3. Decisions can change
Almost no decision is final.
OK, there might be some loss of face if you have to overturn a big decision. But unless you’re always in the news, you’re probably the only one who’ll notice.
Politicians seem to be allowed to get away with changing decisions regularly to the extent that the media simply report them as U-turns and often predict they’ll happen before the politicians pluck up the courage to announce them. Or, even more likely, wait until the news is likely to get buried by other stories.
If it’s patently obvious to everyone involved that the decision was the wrong one, having the courage to admit you were wrong can even help raise other people’s perception of you.
Whatever you do, do your best to make your decisions fairly and quickly. You can then get on with the much more productive task of making them come into reality.