Have you ever had decision fatigue? Or times where you find it challenging to decide which task should you do first? Perhaps you’re facing a more significant dilemma, such as decisions about your future career. Because we all know that every action has its consequences, whether it's good or bad. But most likely, we prefer to take on the right step to solve our problems. And somehow, we tend to face many dilemmas and struggle a lot in this decision-making process.
Decisions play an important role in our lives. We can define decision-making as a course of action that is purposely chosen from a set of alternatives to achieve specific goals. The Decision-making process is continuous work that our brain (literally) managed to do every day, and it sustains all that we do, especially in organizational functioning. Of course, decision-making requires a thinking process, time, efforts, resources, and knowledge of your past experiences. Taking the right decisions at the right time can save you from any trouble. But being impulsive in making decisions or taking too much time to execute your decision can also cause many problems for you. So, if you're still struggling to make proper choices yet view decision-making as a key to progress in life, you might want to know a few decision-making process strategies.
The first thing you need to know about decision-making is that you need to find the core problem, "What is the problem?", "Why is there a problem?" Then it'll lead to another question, "What good or bad outcomes might happen from the problem?" which will guide you to your solution. Yes, use your optimal observation on what’s currently happening and trust your intuition on what’s going to happen. After that, you can come up with strategies on how you should take that decision.
There are many decision-making strategies, especially in managerial activities like planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. So, we offer these three strategies that you can try to apply to your daily lives.
1. 2x2 Matrix
The two-by-two matrix was popularized by Stephen Covey, a productivity expert, to prioritize your tasks based on importance and urgency. For example, one day, you're examining an item on your to-do list or assessing a new task. With a two-by-two matrix, you'll decide which task that's urgent or not urgent and whether it's necessary or unimportant. Using this strategy, you’ll be more likely to do the right work at the right time. Here’s a visual representation of the 2x2 matrix.
Source: Management Consulted
2. The 10/10/10 Test
Before you decide, it's better to write down the goals, priorities, or people in your life that will also impact you. If you're anticipating and worried about decision bombing, you can try using the 10/10/10 test. Think about how you'll feel about the decision in the next ten weeks, ten months, or ten years from now. How likely will the choice be consequential? Or will you remember that it was a big deal? Your answers can help you put things in a much bigger perspective and rally the motivation you need to take action. Here’s a visual representation of the 10/10/10 test.
Source: Working Better Life
3. SWOT Analysis
You can use SWOT analysis to make the most of what you've got or to your organization's best advantage. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and it is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business or simply for yourself. With SWOT analysis, you'll find out what's working well and what won't. You can also reduce the chances of failure by understanding what you're lacking and eliminating the risks that might catch you unaware. Here’s a visual representation of the SWOT analysis.
Source: Mind Tools
💡Apart from the strategies, there are also a few quick tips that you need to know regarding decision-making. With these tips, you can apply them whenever you feel like it's necessary.
1. Be less certain
Overconfidence is not a universal phenomenon — it depends on the factors such as culture and personality. Still, it’s a ubiquitous bias that mainly occurs among men, the wealthy, and even experts. Chances for being overconfident is that you might not think of other circumstances because you're already too confident about the preferable choice. You can practice aligning your confidence level by trying out quizzes (e.g., this or that). You’ll also realize that it may not be possible to be right, but it's possible to become less overconfident.
2. Ask, “How often does that typically happen?”
In general, research suggests the best starting point for decision making is to ask, “How often does that typically happen?” If you are considering applying for a job interview, you might ask: What percentage will a job interview fail? (Or, what percentage succeed?). Asking that kind of question is known as the base rate, which comes up a lot in the research on prediction and might help decision-making. Sometimes, the idea of getting on the "inside view" can overwhelm both your prediction and judgment analysis. So, try looking at the "outside view" to get a general idea before considering the specifics of your case.
3. Think probabilistically
If you’re not comfortable with probability, there’s no better investment than improving your decision-making than spending even 30 minutes to an hour learning about it (e.g., Khan Academy’s introduction on coin flipping). Improving your ability to think probabilistically will help you with the first two rules. You’ll be able to express your uncertainty better and think about “How often does this usually happen?” as the three rules together are more powerful than any of them alone.
In conclusion, decision-making plays a crucial role in our lives. Every action that we take comes from our decision-making. Deciding when to decide is often as important as determining how to choose. So, mastering them takes practice. You may become overconfident about your ability to make decisions after using the strategies for a little while. But remember that great decision-makers don't follow these rules only when they're facing a difficult choice, but they’ll use them daily. Recognize that even the most straightforward decision can be challenging, and you’d probably know less than you think. If you’re interested in reading more strategies and tips for your self-development, make sure to sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned on our blog every week! Also, follow our Instagram @baikgp @ayureadypodcast 👀