Let’s face it – for most people, making decisions is a stressful and time consuming process. Some people tend to dwell on the potential outcomes and only focus on the negative aspects, while others don’t take the consequences into account at all. Be sure to use this strategy for a more effective decision-making process!
As silly and basic as it sounds, make a pros and cons list! I have done it many times for big decisions, small decisions and while helping my family and friends make decisions. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive, but just writing things down can often put the situation into perspective.
At the top of your list, write what it is you are trying to achieve. It may be necessary to make two separate lists, one for the outcomes that come from one decision and one for the outcomes of the opposite decision. That way you have all the bases covered and can compare all potential outcomes.
Make two columns, one titled pros and the other, cons:
Pros – In this column write down all of the positive aspects that would result in saying yes to the decision. Try not to be subjective and write down every little benefit that you can possibly think of! This can be something as little as how much time you would save or something as big as helping you become a more marketable individual in the professional atmosphere.
Cons – Now it is time to complete the negative aspects of choosing to accept the decision. As with your pros list, make sure to list every little negative consequence, no matter how minor. This can often be achieved by finding the counter to each benefit.
When your list is complete, have a family member or friend look over the list and add any other benefits and drawbacks. Make sure to assign a weight to each item (at least the top three) on your list by how important each factor ranks in your decision and then use the process of elimination to come to a final conclusion. Whether you are deciding which career path you should take, which apartment to rent or which pair of shoes you should buy, it is always helpful to use a pros and cons list!