Last spring my daughter and her husband took a work assignment in Dublin Ireland.
She called me this week and asked me if we were coming to visit in 2018. With a limited travel budget, my husband and I had to consider our options and make this important decision.
But isn’t that life. A series of difficult decision, one after the other. I did a little bit of research and various Internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. This number may sound absurd, but in fact, we make over 200 decisions each day on just food alone according to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007)
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from making both right and wrong decisions. Here are 5 points to help you wade through the course of the daily decision making process.
- Evaluate the significance of the decision in relationship to the consequences.
If it is a simple decision that will have a relatively low impact on your life then classify it as a “10 second decision” An example might be, “Do I want to add a banana to my cereal”? If, however; the decision is regarding a full menu for an event for 100 people, there are more consequences to consider and would certainly require more time and consideration.
- Apply the “Regret” test.
If you are standing in the store starring at an item and not sure if you should make the purchase, ask yourself if when you get home are you going to say, “Dang I should have bought that” or “Boy am I glad I said no to that”? This lesson was learned when my husband and I spent early Saturday mornings at the local swap meet. There was so many times that when we got home, I found myself regretting not getting that beautiful flower vase for only $10 or that braided rug for only $25.
- Get someone else’s opinion.
There may be someone who has had experience with the subject you are dealing with who could add insight to the issue. Give them a call or invite them to coffee and ask their opinion. Sometimes, just saying out loud what is going on in your head will add clarity to the process as well. But remember to never substitute someone else’s wisdom for your own.
4. Be sure you have all the information you need to help you make a decision.
Often our uncertainty about what to do can result from not having all the facts and details. This comes into play in simple decisions like deciding which restaurant to choose and more complex issues like political elections. With the Internet at your fingertips there is no excuse to not have all the information you need to help you decide.
5. Use is also the “Ben Franklin” technique.
The story is that when Ben wasn’t sure what to do he would take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side were all the “pros”” and on the other side were the “cons”. When you are finished, the side with the longer list is your choice. The most important part of this process is knowing what is important to you and being able to prioritize the pros and cons. When I was a real estate agent working with buyers and especially first time buyers I would ask them what are the 3 tops features in the house or neighborhood that are a must have. It was an opportunity for them to prioritize their wants and needs. It was also important for them to identify what they absolutely did not want.
Each of these steps has helped me as I tackle the many daily decisions of my life including the Dublin dilemma.
This is an important decision so I didn’t rush into anything and book a ticket as soon as I knew she was moving. And I know I would regret it terribly it we didn’t visit so it was time to talk to my daughter and her husband for their opinions. I also researched airfares and the best time of year to visit. This is also no denying the pros will outweigh the cons so Spring 2019 Dublin here we come.
The decision was made without struggle, wasted time or regret. So practice these strategies and stop wasting time and living with regret.