Decision making skills

Decision making skills - Time management skills - How to say no - How to delegate - Ability to avoid procrastination

Decision making skills avoid procrastination. You only procrastinate, if you are unable to decide. Dumb, if somebody decides to procrastinate …

S T O P ! ! !
Prior to reading the following comments on decision making at time management, I want to point to an exceptional website about decision making. If you feel you should improve this skill, I strongly recommend to work through this rich site.

Time management can only be as effective as a decision making is mastered well. Have a closer look at www.decision-making-confidence.com – not only your time management will improve, even your way of life may benefit.

And now the concise version of decision making skills …

Which task next?
Decision making within time management only deals with solving the problem, which task you should start doing next, or how to find the right choice among a lot of tasks in your task or to do list when doing your daily job duties.

Making decisions is not yet solving problems but one – to choose the right option or alternative. Therefore, you first need means and methods of decision making and not tools for solving problems, although it has a similar appearance.

If you have to decide you are facing two or more alternatives among you have to choose the best one, leaving the answer for: what is best in my situation?Other than solving problems you don’t have to find or create solutions yet.Choices of minor importance you eventually will not even consciously feel as a decision process.

The most important guidelines for a task decision when working at your to do list

  • Which of the written tasks of your to do list most directly lead to your goals?
  • Which of them are demanded from your boss and would impose severe troubles if disregarded?
  • Which tasks to start next you feel on a gut level?
  • Which other judgement criteria should/must be applied?
  • Intuition will increasingly help you if you dare to trust it.

Choosing a task is nothing else but prioritizing.

Zen of timing – an experiment

Imagine the method for task selection as mere skimming over your task list and watching your feelings / intuition only. Where do you stop reading over the list? Eventually quickly check again and start doing the task you this moment thought is the most relevant to do now. No elaborated decision making skills, no categorizing, nothing else, but deciding in the very moment and acting.


I can hear the screaming of time management experts:
“What´s about important and urgent?”“You will only do, what is comfortable”“You will miss the right things”“You will procrastinate the ugly things”“You don’t plan your work, so you cannot work at your plan”… and much much more complaints and warnings.

What I counter:
It is ONE way to make things simpler,
you cannot loose,
try it.

What I admit:
That this is probably not YOUR way.

If you are open to alternative ways just try the above zen of timing method. Most important premise is the one and only to do list in a well-arranged form.

(A detailed description of this method is being prepared as a small ebook)

Tough choices
However substantial decision makings will require careful selection of the method, if severe negative consequences are to be avoided.At dynamic time management this is normally not needed but even hindering, when you have to decide quickly.

Possibly, you heard about a decision making of people involved in highly risky jobs. Do you think, that a doctor at a terrible accident starts to use a decision matrix, or does prioritize or categorize – she quickly checks all knowledge, and it is documented - decides mostly from gut?

There exist numerous examples, where quick decisions have been the best (naturally sometimes also the worst. However, elaborated preparation of decisions doesn't protect you from wrong ones.)

Quick check before deciding to act on a task

  • Is it really still your business?
  • What is the purpose of the decision?
  • What is the benefit of the decision?
  • Do you miss any information?
  • What will happen if you don’t decide?
  • Brainstorm the alternatives


Decision making skills as usual
If you have prepared the decision well by applying the above points and answering the above questions sufficiently, defining the best alternative most often is a logical consequence thereof.

Finally to process the decision, there will be to do something or put it into your to do list for action at a later, more suitable time (you “time managed" it, however, putting it into your tasklist should not be hidden procrastination!)

Watching the output will give you growing confidence into the way of your decision making, even if you did a wrong decision. Learn from your failures and improve next time.

Which method is adequate to find the right solution depends on the severity and reach of the output or consequences of your decision.Challenging decision making skills of the upper level use more or less elaborated methods, with adequate information as foundation.

I will give only a short overview over possible other methods how to decide, in principle.

A small selection of methods
(titles only for this time, on some you will find good stuff at the SE´s. This list will be expanded with growing site and deeper discussion given)

  • Decision tree
  • Mind mapping can strongly assist a decision making skills.
  • Decision matrix
  • Pro/Con, Yes/No matrix (description will follow)
  • SBI niche finding is an excellent tool for weighting alternatives. (www.sitesell.com)
  • EKS ® Strategy decision making required for discerning between alternatives within a goal setting process at the personal strength analysis.
  • An iterative process of sequentially comparing two alternatives of a list of options.
  • One method approaching more to problem solving is the 6 hats by Edward de Bono. It splits the situation into 6 possible points of view or aspects. Although it is primarily intended for use with groups of people I made the experience that it excellently works as stand alone means and supports decision making great.

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