Tricky Decisions - Deepstash

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The Decision Matrix: How to Prioritize What Matters

Tricky Decisions

Reversible and consequential decisions  trick you into thinking they are one big important decision.

In reality, reversible and consequential decisions are the perfect decisions to run experiments and gather information.

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10/10/10 Rule

Before making a decision, considers how you’ll feel about this decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.

It’s easy to make short-term decisions that may be beneficial 10 minutes or 10 months from now, but these types of decisions usually don’t benefit us in the long-term. What’s harder is to make decisions that may not appear attractive or impactful in the short-term, but over time can have a positive impact in your life.

Pareto’s Law

In anything we do, there’s always ~20% of activities that will deliver 80% of our desired results.

It’s easy to be wrapped up in ‘busy’ work without ever getting anything done. Pareto’s Law is a useful mental model to be more effective, rather than just be efficient.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. So try placing artificial time limitations.

If we’re given three hours to complete a task that normally would take an hour, we’ll find a way to fill those three hours. However, when we’re down to the final thirty minutes, we’re suddenly feeling the pressure to get things done. 

Pretend You're Advising a Friend

Think outside yourself a little and pretend like you're offering advice. 

The reasoning here is really simple: your short-term emotions get in the way of decisions, and that clouds your judgment. It's hard to break free of your emotions, but it helps to know they affect your choices.

Limit The Information You Take In

We usually believe that the more information you have, the better decisions we can make. However, at some point, we cross a threshold where we have too much information. That's when we start to fill in gaps and add weight to information that doesn't matter. 

This makes decision making way more difficult.

Reverse Your Assumptions

You're so prone to continue making the same kind of choices throughout your life that challenging yourself and doing the exact opposite is often the best way to get around this problem. 

The idea here is to confront your default behavior, step outside your comfort zone, and use your imagination to test some completely new ideas.

Bikeshedding explained

The metaphor is as follows: Imagine a financial committee meeting to discuss a three-point agenda.

  • A proposal for a £10 million nuclear power plant
  • A proposal for a £350 bike shed
  • A proposal for a £21 annual coffee budget

The committee normally ends up running through the nuclear power plant proposal in little time because it's too advanced to really get into it.

The bike shed proposal takes much longer as everyone knows what it is and has an opinion that they want to air about it.

As the committee moves on to the coffee budget, suddenly everyone is an expert. _Before anyone realizes, they spend longer discussing the £21 coffee budget than the power plant and the bike shed combined.

Having an opinion

The simpler a topic, the more people will have an opinion about it. However, when we mostly understand a topic, we feel compelled to say something, lest we look foolish.

With any topic, we should seek out the inputs from those who have done the work to have an opinion. If we want to contribute, it should be something valuable that will improve the outcome of the decision.

Strategies for avoiding bike-shedding
  • Have a clear and focused purpose for your meeting. A specific purpose for the meeting filters all other decisions, including who should be attending.
  • Understand that the most informed opinions are the most relevant.
  • If your purpose is to make a decision, consider having "fewer cooks in the kitchen."
  • Getting the result you desire depends on having the right people in the meeting.
  • Ensure to have a designated individual in charge of making the final judgment, not a committee.