Some decisions we make are a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Other times, it can be much more complex. While most of us make a number of decisions every day, sometimes we face challenges in our lives that make decision-making more difficult. Or, perhaps you simply want to reset as the new year approaches.
When faced with making a tough decision, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, pressured, confused, or distracted. But, overcoming challenges is important for a healthy life.
Here are a few tips to make complex decisions a little easier and more efficient.
DEFINE THE PROBLEM
First, clearly define what the problem or decision is. Write it down to give you more clarity as to what you need to do. By establishing the criteria, specifics, and constraints of the problem, you’ll better know the exact issue you’re looking to solve.
LIST ALL THE SOLUTIONS
There’s almost always more than one way to solve a problem. By listing all of the potential solutions, you can tap into your creativity and look at the problem in different ways. Writing down the solutions also allows you to physically see your different options, which can help make choosing the best one easier.
Don’t let stress get the best of you and simply rush into decisions without thinking them through. Give yourself time (if possible) to clearly understand your problem and all of the solutions available to you. This will help you feel more confident in the solution you choose.
FIND THE BEST SOLVE
Once you’ve listed all the possible solutions, it’s easier to identify the best ones. Narrow down your options to the top two or three and go from there. Consider pros and cons to your top choices, and choose the one that gives you the best outcome. You may even want to talk out your options with a friend or family member to help determine your best course of action.
MAKE A PLAN
Once you know your solution, it's time to execute. First, develop your strategy. Then, implement a plan of action. What are the first, second, and third steps necessary to execute the solution? Outline when, where, and how you will complete each step in the plan.
TRY THE PRUDENTIAL ALGEBRA APPROACH
If the above steps fail, you can try the Prudential Algebra approach, another method to solving some of life’s challenges. The approach is simple:
- Make a list of all the pros and cons.
- Assign a value to each pro and con based on importance.
- Cross out pros and cons of equal values.
- At the end, are you left with more pros or cons? Whichever one you have more of, that is your decision.