Making decisions Part 1 – A or B?

We’ve all been at a point where we had to decide whether to do A or B. If only there was a process to help you decide.

The processes that are common are pros and cons list, ask someone who’s already been through this situation, consider the opportunity cost etc. But what if that still doesn’t make the decision process any easier?

Recently, I’ve listened to an audiobook called “Decisive” and I want to share some key takeaways with you – they might apply to your situation.

You can get your own copy of ‘Decisive’ at Amazon.

(4.6 stars @433 reviews as of 4/13/18)

You can also join Audible for two free audio books [here’s my referral link].

(full disclosure: I get a small commission from these referral links at no cost to you)

Can you do both?

Usually, I default to thinking ‘either-or’, because that’s easier. What’s a bit non-intuitive (and requires some creative thinking) is to ask yourself if you could do both.

For example, if you want to start your own business, can you start with something small and still keep your job? Can you do something for your business on your personal time that will also benefit you in your day job?

On the web, A/B Testing is really common. It’s basically trying two options on a small set of users and seeing what’s better.

Here’s an example of how it works – for the first X users, layout A is presented to a 50% of random users, and layout B is presented to the rest. The program determines which has the best outcome (e.g. results in most purchases). Going forward, only that layout will be presented to future users.

Really consider whether you can do both (get creative). However, if it really is an either-or decision, keep on reading.

Vanishing options

There was an interesting scenario brought up in the book. It was whether or not to fire someone who isn’t that competent at their job. If you fire them, there will be lots of paperwork and it will take forever.

A proposed process is to ask ‘what if this person can’t be fired? What would we do then?’, this lead to considering finding cheaper workers to do the job and allowing the person in question to find another task that they are good at.

Get some distance

The last takeaway that really hit home with me was to back away from your situation and ask “If you were to give advice to your friend in the same situation, what would you tell them?”

Other questions to ask yourself:

  • How does this decision jive with my core values?
  • How will this decision matter in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years?

Final words

  • Try to minimize the decisions you have to make to the very tough situations – it drains mental energy when you have to decide.
  • There’s never a way of knowing if you’re making the right decision – do your due diligence and you’ll be confident that you’re making a good decision based on your criteria at the time.
  • Think of a recent time you had to decide between A or B – how did you make your decision? or did you do both?  Let me know in the comments!

Pick up a copy of Decisive here

Here’s my referral link in case the graphic above is hidden.

In the next post, I’ll answer a common question – How do you track your tasks for the day? And how do you ensure you’re working on the *right* things? See you then!