How to Think Better: decision-making

You miss out on early bird conference pricing because you delay deciding whether or not to attend.

You feel increasingly frustrated with your current job, but delay deciding if you’re going to change careers.

You struggle to market your services because you put off deciding who your ideal client is.

What do these three scenarios have in common? The downside of delayed decision-making.

  • Will I attend the conference? Ummm…I haven’t decided yet.
  • Who is my ideal client? Gosh…it’s just too hard to decide.
  • Should I change careers? Hmmm…I can’t decide.

Failing to decide creates friction and is a drag on your energy.

Because here’s the thing: When you delay making a decision, the situation is still working in the back of your mind. It’s like an open circuit that can’t be closed until you decide—yes or no, stay or leave, right or left, move or stay put.

For instance, while you put off deciding whether or not you’ll change jobs, you’re stuck in limbo land. You’re not actively working to make a career change and move forward. But you’re also not committed to appreciating and making the best of your current scenario.

Am I? or Am I not? is an uncomfortable place to be.

It’s like straddling a fence with one leg on both sides. You can’t really go anywhere and it’s painful trying to maneuver while going nowhere.

Of course, some choices in your life need to unfold organically, so I’m not talking about forcing decisions.

But there’s a difference between letting things take their natural course (feels in flow) versus shirking the need to make decisions in a timely manner (feels like friction).

One way to spot the difference is to look at the consequences showing up in your life.

Let’s say you put off deciding whether to attend an out-of-town training.

Even knowing months in advance about the event, you waffle and delay your decision until the 11th hour. Finally deciding to attend, you’re forced to book your last-minute lodging in a dreary, overpriced, less-than-ideally located Airbnb because all the nearby good places are booked.

You suffer the consequences of delayed decision-making: The energy-draining, time-wasting back and forth before the event: Should I or should I not go? And then the opportunity cost that comes with deciding late: Paying more and having fewer choices.

Decisiveness is a skill, plain and simple. So if you’ve ever thought, I wish I were more decisive, you can—with practice—get better at making quick and effective decisions.

What will you decide today?