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November 14, 2020

Decide, Don't Deliberate

Over the last year, I've been practising a specific hack to free more time in the day.

It involves making quicker decisions for everyday life scenarios.

Before, I used to deliberate (engage in long and careful consideration) over the smallest decisions:

Should I wait for the next bus in the rain? Or, should I pay for the taxi?

I'm hungry, but should I finish this task first?

There's an issue in our team, should I fix it myself or ask someone else to?

Weighing up the pros and cons of each and every decision will drain your time and mental bandwidth.

In most situations, everyday choices we deliberate on are not worth the time lost, time that could be better spent elsewhere.

The longer we deliberate on a decision, the more we invite retrospective analysis and potential regret. i.e. "did I make the right decision?", "what would have happened if made the other decision".

Some argue that removing decision making is a quick fix. But making decisions can be very necessary. We can't always absolve our responsibilities and make fewer decisions, but we can make them a hell of a lot quicker.

Here are some examples of how I've been making quicker decisions:

Pay the convenience tax

Some options for items and services cost more money. Ask yourself, is this extra spending worth the time I'll save? Will the taxi save me 30 minutes on my journey? Will it mean that I'm able to complete a task comfortably on my laptop rather than when I get home, saving me a further 30 minutes?

Framed in this way, the extra expenditure becomes a convenience tax, one I happily pay whenever feasible.

Delegate but don't micromanage

If you've entrusted someone to carry out a task for you, don't watch their every move.

By micromanaging someone you were supposed to offload a task onto, you defeat the very purpose of delegation.

You waste more cumulative time (yours and theirs) teaching them how to 'do things properly' and create more stress in trying to enable someone to do it 'your way'.

Create strict and personal rules for decision making

Defaulting to specific decisions in common scenarios is a brilliant time-saver.

Will I keep buying this type of item until I get it right? I'll just fork out a bit of extra money to get it right the first time.

Do I need to get a task done? I'm not allowed to start anything else until I complete it.

Am I achieving my main daily goals? If not, I can't accept new opportunities.

The stricter the criteria for each decision, the less time you deliberate on them.

Decide, but don't deliberate.

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