Whether you are employed as a member of someone’s team or run your own business, work-based decisions carry a lot of responsibility.
We all feel this weight on our shoulders, it is just part of adult life. But there are some decision-making tricks and tools to make the process a little less stressful, and give you a better chance of a great outcome.
Here are five things I have learned to do from both my past as an employee and my present as a small business owner.
1. The 5×5 rule
This one has been doing the rounds on social media as quote cards and motivational posts. But despite its personal development cheesiness, it still rings true. If it will not matter in five years time, do not spend more than five minutes worrying about it.
I know it might sound a bit harsh, to not give something more than five minutes, but seriously, we are all so time poor. I like this because it is about the big picture.
If something will not matter in the long-term, then it is not worth disrupting your working time for. Focus on the things that do affect the long-term of your company.
2. What does your gut say?
This is a super-quick one. If you allow your monkey-mind to think about the question, you will not be able to hear your gut. So you have to get in there quick.
When there is a decision to be made, quickly and before the mental chatter sets in, ask your gut and write down the answer. That is right – do not act on it, but right it down.
You need to write it down so that you can come back to it later. Because your mind needs to do its thing too. You will have to make sure that your gut instinct was not to do something crazy.
But once your brain has checked your decision for common sense, go back to what you wrote down. Does it feel right? This, I have often found, is the safest way to make an authentic decision. Your gut gets to have its say, and so does your anxious monkey-mind. But ultimately, you get to listen to your intuition.
3. Pros and cons
Ah, the good old pros and cons list. This is less about listening to your intuition, and more about satisfying both your busy mind, and your employer, or partner, or bank manager.
Whatever decision you make, if you can show that you considered all options carefully, that goes a long way to covering your back if your decision does not turn out to be for the best.
At least you can demonstrate your efforts to do your best. Knowing this can help you to stop putting off your decision out of fear.
4. Set yourself a deadline
Speaking of fear-based procrastination, sometimes a time-bound goal is the best solution. If the decision you need to make carries a lot of responsibility, then it is only natural you will want to put off making it. Set a time and date in your diary, and get a manager, colleague, or friend to hold you accountable to it.
5. Limit the advice you seek
They say, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
For the sake of making your decision sooner, and for your sanity, do not ask everyone in the office what they think you should do.
You will get too many conflicting answers, and not everyone is qualified to help you. If you want other opinions to consider, then go to just a couple of senior teammates that you trust.
At the end of the day, if you are tasked with making a decision, then remember it is not all about the pressure and responsibility. You have been trusted with something important and you can be proud of that fact.
Often there is no right or wrong choice either, so you do your best with the information that you have. So do not procrastinate or try to avoid the situation. Trust yourself and do what feels right. No one can ask more of you than that.