How to Effectively Make a Decision

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Throughout your career, you will make all kinds of decisions that will have an impact on yourself and others. When making a decision, it’s important to consider all of your options and then pick the one with the best-anticipated outcome. In this article, learn about the decision-making process and how you can make more effective decisions.

Why it is important to effectively make decisions

Many decisions you need to make have deadlines, so you need a decision-making process that helps you make the smartest choice in a timely manner. When making decisions at work, the outcome will not only affect yourself but also your coworkers and the company. By being thoughtful about each important decision you make, you are more likely to achieve a beneficial outcome. By having an effective decision-making process, you can feel more confident about difficult decisions and know that you made the right choice. Making important decisions will always be a part of life and work, so it’s important to learn how to do so effectively. 

How to make an important decision

Here are steps you should follow when making an important decision:

1. First, narrow down what you need to decide

Instead of making multiple decisions at once, make one at a time. By narrowing your focus on one decision, you can make more thoughtful decisions and feel calm while doing so. To do this, write down all the decisions you need to make. Then rank them in order of priority. Often, deadlines constitute which decisions you should make first.  Identify exactly what you need to decide. Sometimes you can simplify what you need to decide or you may discover the decision is more important than you initially realized. By understanding the scope of your situation, you can make a more appropriate choice. 

2. Second, think of the best possible outcome

Before making your decision, think about what your ideal outcome is. Perhaps multiple outcomes would be beneficial for you. For example, if you are deciding which job offer to take, think of what your dream job looks like. If multiple job offers could fulfill this, then begin to look at what makes each one different from the other. Then you can decide which one is slightly better for what you want out of a job.

Also, consider who your decision will affect and how it will reflect your own values, preferences and beliefs. It’s important to stay true to yourself when making a choice. A smart decision is one that positively impacts as many people as possible, though you may need to make certain decisions based on your own wellbeing. 

3. Third, weigh all of your options

Think of all of your options and predict which one is most likely to lead to your ideal outcome. You can do this by thinking about similar choices you have made in the past and compare them to your current situation. Perhaps the last decision you made did not go as planned. Use that experience to think of ways you could make this decision more effective for you. 

4. Fourth, get yourself to make the decision

Once you narrow down your options, choose the one you are the most confident about. Then, put your plan into place. Remember that a decision can be a multi-part process and you may need to account for alternative options as the situation unfolds. Eventually, you need to make your decision and the longer you wait, the more you may second guess yourself. If you thought your decision through and weighed all your options, it is time to finally make the decision. 

5. Finally, reflect on the outcome of the decision

After making your decision, reflect on the outcome to help improve your decision-making process and make more informed decisions in the future.

Tips for making a decision

Here are some tips to follow when making a decision:

Make your decision based on your values

Decision making often requires looking inward and thinking about what matters most to you. Before making your decision, consider all the values your choices represent. For example, one choice may be more generous than another. If generosity and selflessness are important values to you, the generous choice may be the best decision to make. Multiple choices may reflect your values, but since you must decide on one, choose the one that represents the values that are most important to you.  

Remember, your values may change based on where you are in life. For instance, if you have a family, you may pick a job that represents your family values. This could be a job that has flexible hours and a lot of paid time off, so you can spend more time with your family. Likewise, if you do not have a family to support, you may choose a job that represents other values such as personal growth. This job may include tasks that challenge you more and require critical thinking.

Do some research

An effective decision is an informed one. Before making any choices, do research about the topic and related issues. The internet can be a great resource for this but make sure to choose reputable sources that have a non-biased stance on topics. Consider each part of your decision and find evidence to support the choices you intend to make. Also, look for evidence that argues against what you want to decide. This way you can see more sides of the situation and decide what is best to choose.  

Ask for outside advice

Look for a peer who has been in a similar situation and ask them what they did and if they are still happy with the choice they made. Ask them if they could change anything about the decision what would it be. Getting outside advice is a great way to learn a new perspective on your situation. It can also help you feel more confident about what you decide or help you think of the situation in a new way. 

When making career-related decisions, seek out someone who is in a similar field as you. If you’re deciding on your career path, it’s especially helpful to talk to someone who in the position you want. Most professionals would be happy to help you. Also, many people like having a chance to network with other professionals in their field. You could connect with someone in your field by reaching out to them about any questions you may have. 

Write down your thoughts

When you have many options to choose from and various thoughts about your decision, it’s important to stay organized to make an effective decision. Write all of your thoughts down so you can see your options and let your mind relax. You could even make a list of pros and cons for each option and choose the option that has the most benefits.