Overwhelmed? Big decisions in little time

notime“Aaaaugh! I can’t go through seven steps to make a decision. Do you know how many decisions I have to make every day? I can’t spend any time on them,” he wailed. Have you ever felt like that? I have. In an earlier post I passed on several techniques for making a decision in a minute, but a few times every day I bump up against some issues that need more than that.

Here’s the good news. You can actually go through the seven steps in ten minutes or less to make a moderately complex decision.

Step Activity Time
0: Preparation Get pencil and paper 30 sec.
1: Mission Write down the issue or question 30 sec.
2: End-time We already set this for 10 minutes 0 sec.
3: Goals List as many goals, considerations, constraints and criteria as you can 1 min.
4: Alternatives List as many alternatives as you can 1 min.
5: Visualization Pick the 3 to 5 most important goals and the 3 to 5 most promising alternatives 1 min.
5: Visualization Lay out a grid with the key alternatives across the top and the key goals down the left side. 1 min.
5: Visualization Imagine each alternative as though it has happened. Put a score from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) in each cell reflecting how well you imagine the alternative meeting the goal. 2 min.
6: Insight Compare the scores for each alternative with the others and choose the best. 2 min.
7. Make it happen You have your answer. Get out of that chair and go do something about it. 1 min.

Listen to your gut. Much of this is subjective. The scores you give in the Visualization step are a subjective rating based on your expectations and your emotional reactions to the images you have created for yourself.

If the winner is not obvious in the Insight step, add up the scores. If the top two are close, pick the one that does best on your most important goal.

That’s it. You can do several of these a day. Relax, take a deep breath and then move forward.

Do you have techniques for quick decisions that you can share? How do you do it?


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