To Make Smart Decisions Quickly
Believe it or not, we're faced with decisions almost every single minute of our lives.
Are we going to wake up early, or stay in bed?
Are we going to wear this t-shirt or that t-shirt?
Are we going to have this for breakfast or that for breakfast?
Should we go out with friends today or stay in to do work?
Will I watch this video or that video?
I can probably go on forever about the sort of decisions that we're faced with on a daily basis.
The reason we don't think about it too much, however, is the simple fact that our brains are wired to make these decisions pretty quickly.
There are a ton of things that we do unconsciously that our bodies have done hundreds, thousands, or even more, times before.
The more these things are repeated, the more automatic they become.
Think of a habit - you make the decision to do a certain habit within a given moment.
The more we repeat these habits, the more automatic they become.
All of a sudden, these habits are now the result of a certain cue, be it stress, happiness, sadness, etc.
All of this processing happens within microseconds inside our brains and so they're decisions that are very hard to control.
However, what about the less automatic decisions?
How about the decisions that feel like life or death situations?
As entrepreneurs, we're going to be faced with a bunch of decisions daily - decisions that require more effort and brainpower to work through.
Are we going to hire x or y?
Are we going to spend the budget on marketing, or product improvements?
Are we going to partner with this company?
Are we going to sell to company Z?
Some decisions that we're forced to make can take days to think through. Sometimes, these decisions can cause a lot of stress and overthinking.
In this article, we're going to discuss how to make smart decisions quickly.
I'm going to discuss some powerful decision-making skills every entrepreneur must have.
By the end of this article, you should be able to make smart decisions quickly and effectively.
Limit your options
Imagine you're trying to create a logo for your new company.
What colours do you pick?
What shape should it be?
There are just too many choices, the more choices you have the more you'll linger on your decisions.
The more choices that you have, the more likely you'll be analysing every aspect of those choices.
Most of the time, half of these choices are not necessary.
A simple way to make smart decisions quickly is by eliminating those decisions that mean the least to you.
Start simply by using the process of elimination.
There are most likely going to be some decisions in there that mean little to you or your mission.
What colours do you like?
Which of these colours align with the sort of business you're building? Are they light, dark, powerful?
Better yet, think outside of the box and hire a logo creator to make your logo - problem solved!
I know it's not going to be this easy to fix problems all the time.
However, in most cases, you'll be able to eliminate a few decisions that have no bearing on your mission.
This is a great way to work through somewhat smaller decisions.
For the larger, more overwhelming decisions, keep reading.
Set a time limit
I remember when I used to say the corny line, 'Time Is Money.'
Time is not equal to money. That would mean both time and money have equal value.
Time > Money is how the equation should really look - time is a non-renewable commodity whilst money is generated and printed day after day.
It's simply not true to say that your time is as valuable as some piece of paper we call money.
With that said, it's important to remember just how important your time is.
The more time you spend on making decisions, the more time you're wasting on other important things too.
For not so important decisions, there's a simple 2-minute rule you can use.
When there's a decision at hand that you need to make, simply start a timer for 2 minutes and try to make that decision within this time frame.
When you force yourself to make these decisions quickly, you'll be able to realise just how much time you usually waste.
A lot of the time, it's just going to be your mind overanalysing every aspect and trying to predict every outcome possible. That's why it takes so long to make those decisions.
However, in some cases, it's important to take some time to make these decisions.
For the more important decisions where a lot more is on the line, give yourself a day at most to decide.
Within these 24 hours, you can do anything you want.
Go on walks, listen to instrumentals, take showers, anything that helps you think over the decision you need to make.
However, it's important that you still limit yourself only to those 24 hours.
Having a limit forces you to think quickly and also cuts down the overthinking you do.
Avoid decision fatigue
Decision fatigue is very much a real thing that can sap your energy and leave you vulnerable when larger decisions need making.
I remember around 2 months ago when I was doing my interviews for Condensr, I had a record-high number of around 35-40 interviews within that month.
This meant over 1 meeting per day for a month.
Some days, I even had up to 5 meetings which were very draining.
This sort of fatigue is very similar to the fatigue you face when making a bunch of decisions.
The more decisions you make, the more fatigued you'll be and the harder it is to make more pressing decisions.
A simple fix for this is to limit the number of decisions you make per day.
Maybe you just want to make 5 decisions per day.
Sometimes, your job will demand that you make more - this is where it's important to start outsourcing and hiring people to fill the hats you're wearing.
When you have more people working alongside you, the decisions are no longer only yours to bear.
Working on Hawk Prospecting, I've managed to limit the decisions I make so I can decide quickly.
This has helped me build and launch the product within a month.
Other decisions I've had to make is whether I want to use paid advertising or organically grow the business at the start.
I made the smart decision of starting organically quickly.
The decision that took me a while to make whilst working on Hawk Prospecting was the decision to launch.
To make this decision, I made sure that I did not have a lot of things or other decisions distracting me that day.
I then focused my attention on the most pressing matter - launching Hawk Prospecting.
It was a difficult decision, but one I had to make nonetheless.
Sometimes, the only way forward is to accept the risk, take it, and move on.
Focus on the present
So what is the real reason that we're unable to make decisions quickly?
Why does it become so hard to make decisions?
It's most likely because we're too busy weighing up the outcomes of our decisions.
We think (or try to, at least) about every possible thing that can happen from our decisions.
We think that if we know everything that will happen, we'll be better off with the decisions we make.
The reality is that the more we know, the harder the decision is going to be.
The more we think, the more outcomes we create in our mind, most of which will probably be unrealistic or fake.
The only way to know the outcome of your decisions is to make them.
You won't be able to make every decision possible - that's why you just need to focus on making the decision that seems right in the moment.
No one ever makes the right decisions every time.
Focus on the present and live in the moment.
Think about your long-term goals and what you're ultimately trying to achieve then make decisions that align with those goals.
Trust your gut
How many times have we wanted to follow what our gut tells us but we don't?
We decide to take the complete opposite of what we think is right then it turned out to be the wrong decision.
Our gut is right quite a lot of the time.
Deep down, we usually know what we need to know, we just don't follow our gut.
It's hard to pinpoint the reason for this.
Is it because we don't trust ourselves enough with making big decisions?
Or is it external factors coming into play?
Start trusting yoru gut more - you'll realise that the answer you're looking for is, more often than not, going to be the one that you already know.
Trust yourself and see where it takes you.
Take the risk and it will pay off - your mind is the only barrier between you and who you could be.
The decision matrix is most likely the most logical way to make smart decisions quickly.
It works for both small and large decisions, but it's usually best for larger decisions that require lots of thought to answer.
The decision matrix is a simple way to weigh up your choices and make a logically defined decision.
The first time I came across the decision matrix was when I read the book 'The Millionaire Fastlane.'
It was my favorite book that I read along with these 5 here.
Here is how the decision matrix works.
Let's use the example of which agency to hire for your marketing.
(For agencies looking to find new clients: read this article on client acquisition strategies)
We have 3 choices of agencies that we can hire. We will take these agencies and put them in a column on the left hand site.
Agency 1, agency 2, and agency 3 are our options.
Next, we will think of all the important criteria that will come to mind when we evaluate which agency to hire.
For example, factors that we will think of would be the:
- Cost (4)
- Experience (5)
- Location (3)
- Communication skills (5)
- Ratings/reviews (3)
These will be put in a row above the column we used for the different agencies, adding on a 'total' column at the end.
From here, we will give each one of these factors/criteria a weight out of 5.
This is how important each factor is in making the decision.
If the factor is very important and bears a lot of weight on our decision, we will give it a 4/5, and vice versa.
I have added example weights to each factor above in brackets.
From here, you will go through each choice of agency you have and rate them out of 5 again.
This will be how they stack up against the criteria we've outlined
Finally, we will take each box and multiply it by the weight of each criteria.
For example, if we rated agency 1 a 5/5 for cost (a 5 because their pricing is really good), we will multiply 5x4 because we weighed the cost as a 4.
This will result in a 20 score.
Do this for each box and add up the total for each decision you have, putting it in the end 'total' column.
From here it's simple to make the decision.
The decision with the largest total is going to be the one you should pick.
The decision matrix is a great way to look at your decisions visually, and put your thoughts on paper.
For Hawk Prospecting, I made the decision to focus on marketing agency owners as my early adopter market.
I could have used this decision matrix to come up with this decision.
These were the powerful decision-making skills that help you make smart decisions quickly.
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Till next time,