From the time we wake up in the morning, to the time we go to bed at night; we navigate our way through the day, through sticky situations and through conflicts. One of the most important things we do in the course of the day is make decisions. Be it small or big, the collection of our decisions together make the people that we are.
Being such an important part of our existence, it seems only natural that Psychologists have studied the ways in which we can improve our own decision making skills – the tricks of the trade, if you may. The following are some tips to improve your own decision making, and make the entire process of decision making as efficient as possible, in terms of quality of the decision as well as speed and processes of making decisions.
If the situation allows it, think of alternatives. This would allow one to be able to consider a wider range of possible decisions about a particular situation. To add to this, thinking about the opposite of what you are likely to decide. This would in fact help speed up the decision making process, as it utilises the process of elimination to make you certain of the effects you want.
Be aware of a time crunch or the lack of it. When one knows that they have limited time to make a decision, they would tend to make it faster. Similarly, when one knows that they have enough time, they would spend more time on it. Also think about all the dynamics at play – the advantages of making a quick decision, the effect of thinking about the quality of the decision.
Think of all those who are affected by the decision and those who are responsible for it. What this basically means is that the degree of shared responsibility is an important thing to consider, as it affects the level of risk that people are willing to take, in turn helping make the decision in the right way.
Taking all things into consideration and evaluating the risks of decisions is an important aspect, that we may not even be conscious of. One should weigh the time they want to spend gathering information is to be compared to the time bracket in which the decision has to be made.
One’s values and ways of thinking are reflected in everyday decisions from what to eat, to what to do for leisure, to what to search for in a commodity. Consciously thinking of one’s value system and what they would want out of situations and purchases would help ones improve the quality of the decision as well as the speed of the process.
Weigh the Pros and Cons. It’s the oldest trick in the books; when confused about a particular decision in a situation, just bring out the little notepad from your back pocket and a newly sharpened pencil and make yourself the list. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a list of the positive effects of a particular decision as compared to the negative effects. Weighing these two against one another would give one an idea of which effects he or she is searching for, and would thus convey the fruitfulness of the decision being made.