• Logical decisions tend to trump emotional ones, since emotions can sometimes make us biased or see things in an inaccurate light.
  • Thought-out decisions tend to trump impulsive ones, because you've spent more time on the problem.
  • Flexible decisions tend to trump concrete ones. Some eventual degree of flexibility usually offers more adaptable options.

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Problem Solving

 Step away from the problem

Distancing yourself from a problem can help you face it in a more objective way. 

Instead of remaining in your own frame of mind, consider yourself as an outside observer, such as a friend giving advice or a fly on the wall. Removing yourself in this way helps you filter out some of your cognitive biases and lean you toward a more rational decision.

Give yourself some time

Accuracy and reliability in decision making tends to increase if you first give yourself some time to decompress and collect yourself.

This may also help you remove yourself from the problem, knocking out two of these strategies at a time.

Know that there is no right answer

Remind yourself that there's almost never an objectively correct answer.

All you can do is make the decision that's the best for you at the time, and it's probably going to work out okay either way.

Forget the past

Remember the lessons you've learned from the past, but don't let your past experiences affect what you choose in the present. 

You can't change the past, so instead, look to the present and future.

Commit

Pick an option early and fully commit to it.

Overanalyzing a problem isn't going to help anything. It's just going to bring up new complications, force you to second-guess yourself, and possibly double back on a decision you've already made. 

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Take things one at a time

Next time you’re faced with a problem with many possible answers, pinpoint your end goals and then come up with a solution for each.

This is likely to lead to the generation of a diverse set of options covering multiple categories of solutions.

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Strip down your deciding factors

Try to limit what you have to interpret. Eliminate any factor that isn't one of your primary considerations, and look at what remains.

For example, if you're deciding between two new jobs, you could pare the decision down to salary, work culture, and potential for growth. 

  • Write down 3 existing company goals impacted by the decision;
  • Write down at least 3 realistic alternatives;
  • Write down the most important information you are missing;
  • Write down the impact your decision will have 1 year in the future;
  • Involve a team of 2-6 stakeholders;
  • Write down what was decided, as well as why and how much the team supports the decision;
  • Schedule a decision follow-up in one to two months.

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