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3 Invaluable Rules for Decision Making

By |  Rachel Burnham |

I’ve been flipping through the menu for several minutes now, fighting my indecision. Each dish was attractive in its own way. It looks like you’ll have to order everything. Do you think this stupid decision is not even worth considering? Quite possible. Nevertheless, I bet that you yourself have faced similar difficulties, if not with the choice of the dish, then with something else.

Every day we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy choosing between equally attractive options. However, despite the fact that they seem to us to be of equal importance, each of them attracts us in its own way, which forces us to compromise, even if we are only making a choice between cabbage salad (easy and healthy), salmon (harder to digest protein) and ravioli (tasty, but high in carbohydrates).

Even if such mundane decisions take so much time and energy from us, what can we say about the more serious situations that we face every day in our organizations? Which product should you continue to release and which one should you discontinue? Who to hire and who to fire? Should I start this difficult conversation?

How can we learn to cope more effectively with all kinds of difficult decisions? To do this, I use three methods, and the third I discovered as recently as last week.

First Method – Reduce Associations

The first method is to use the power of habit to significantly reduce the fatigue associated with routine matters. The bottom line is that if you make it a habit, for example, to always have a salad for lunch, then you no longer have to make decisions on this issue at all. This way, you will save energy for other activities. It is a powerful method when it comes to predictable and routine decisions. But what about non-standard situations?

Second Method – If/Then Algorithm

The second method involves the use of an if / then algorithm to simplify spontaneous decisions. For example, imagine a situation where someone constantly interrupts you and you do not know how to react to it. In this case, my rule would sound like this: if a person interrupts me twice in a conversation, then I will reprimand him. However, there remains the problem of large, strategic decisions that cannot be predicted or made into a habit.

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