by Niall Doherty

Here’s something I’ve noticed about successful people: They make lots of decisions.

They also make pretty smart decisions, but I’m inclined to believe the quality stems from the quantity. If you do something often enough, you inevitably get better at it. Practice makes perfect.

Obviously you need to take your time with some decisions. I wrote a few weeks back about trusting your gut, noting that sometimes you need to give your subconscious time to absorb information related to your decision. What I’m talking about today though are the many smaller decisions that we have to make, day in and day out, decisions that aren’t that big a deal but that we often put off for one reason or another.

Let me give you a quick example.

I bought a new laptop last week. For a couple of years I’d been using a to-do app called Things on my old laptop. Despite the fact that I’d been perfectly happy using that app, I wondered if I should continue using it on the new one. I wondered if maybe I should try using Mac’s built-in app instead. Or that free to-do app a reader had emailed me about a few days prior.

In the end, I stuck with Things, but I put off making that decision for two whole days!

Why? Analysis paralysis? Laziness? Procrastination? Paradox of choice?

Probably a combination of all those things. What I want to emphasize here though is that it didn’t really matter what choice I made. I’m sure any of those options I was considering would have worked out pretty well. Or, even if I did manage to choose poorly, it wouldn’t have been a big deal to backtrack later and make it right.

A perfect example of indecision being worse than wrong decision.

I’m trying to be more conscious of these choices. Instead of letting an email sit in my inbox for a few days, I try to decide what to do with it as soon as I read it. Make that choice and move on to the next thing. David Allen is spot on when he writes about the mental weight that results from indecision. The faster and firmer your choices, the more mental capacity you have available to tackle bigger fish.

To wrap this up, here’s a challenge for you (and me): Make more decisions. Instead of putting something aside to deal with later, make a fast decision and be done with it. As mentioned, this is especially true for making small decisions, but it’s often an effective approach for big decisions, too. Most of the time we either know the correct choice intuitively, or it doesn’t matter much what we choose.

So decide already!


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