Decision planning

The problem: Instability of decisions already taken
Often after you made a decision it happens that you uncertain if it was the right decision. A single news headline a day later might bring instability into your mind.

The reason: Decisions are often made to fast and without knowledge
The decision taken from out of the belly is often a good decision but people forget that for a good belly-decision you need according information in the background (of your brain) and appropriate experience. Decisions are often made too quickly because of urgent problems. People do not want to loose time and go ahead. But going too fast may cause wrong decisions and wrong decisions can cost a lot more time and money than stopping a while looking around before going on.

The solution: Plan your decisions similar to a project
In general it is good to know very early about upcoming decisions because then you have enough time to prepare and make a decision with profound information. In the last year I had some long term and big decisions to make and I think I did the right decisions. Looking back I can see the following steps:
  1. Define the challenge / problem / goal.
  2. Search for related information (Search the internet, read books, ask people, ...).
  3. Get an overview about your current situation (or what it will be when the decision is to be made) and your resources (required material, money and time).
  4. Identify probable paths to solve the problem or reach the goal, the required resources and possible pitfalls.
  5. Wait - do something else and let the information seep through.
    Depending on the complexity, time to point of actual decision and scope this time may be either one day or several months. This opens your mind to view the world (or the market - if you are a salesman) in other perspectives that may contribute to solve your issue.
  6. Review existing information, consolidate and search again for related information - this time more specialized towards the most attractive solutions. Mostly you have minimum 3 ways to solve a problem so there should always be several choices (and not just do it or not to do it).
  7. Look at the most attractive solutions from (totally) different point of views and other perspectives.
  8. Take a deep breath and take the decision.
  9. Check the best opportunities to take your first action and plan continuous actions to realize your goal (to organize material, money and reserve time on your calendar).
  10. Action! - Decisions do not have effect without the according actions.

Simple sample to illustrate:
  1. You are going to to sports and then you will take a shower.
  2. You search or ask where the shower is (well not when you are at home but maybe out in the public, at a hotel or at friends) - before you already undressed ;-).
  3. Check your path from sports to the shower.
  4. Know what will be available and what you need to take with you to the shower - e.g. towel, soap, slippers, new clothes.
  5. Well for such simple tasks you might not need to wait long, but at least count down slowly from 5 to 0 before you go - this gives a little time to your brain coming out with something your might have forgotten.
  6. Recheck if you have everything. Double-checking everything is always a good idea - not only because usually during the steps you might get interrupted at least once (by others or yourself).
  7. Imagine different possible activities you could do and opportunities you may have after taking the shower (maybe to go out with a nice girl ;-) ).
  8. Breath and decide to go for a shower - (or decide to skip it if they way is too long or there is no warm water available ;-) )
  9. Check the best opportunity (less people currently under the shower for example or somehow occupied) so you don't have to wait.
  10. Go for it!
A more significant sample:
  1. Your family plans include children and so your family is about to grow. You would like to change to a larger apartment.
  2. Search the internet and market to find out the value of your current residence and the prices of larger apartments or houses in different regions to get an overview what is available for what price.
  3. Check your current financial possibilities and give an estimation about your (and your wife's) work and earnings situation in the future.
  4. Check banks for required loan offers and read carefully the contracts. Talk with your parents about your plans - they might have started saving some money for you already when you still were a child. :-)
  5. Wait at least a few weeks. Walking around you will see related advertisements you might have passed by already several times, you will be attentive to related talks in TV, radio or discussions of people sitting next to you in the train. All this can give you new ideas and opportunities.
  6. Sort already retrieved information and classify - e.g. houses with garden, apartments, sort by district and so on. The one or the other may turn out to be more attractive than other solutions. Go and search again especially for offers in your favorite district for example.
  7. Think again of the opportunity to remain at your existing residence. Think also about the benefits that the new residence can bring along - for example a shorter way to work or cheaper supermarkets in the near. Review the benefits and costs of your desire and think of the financial risks.
  8. Take a deep breath and ... sleep another night ... and then take the decision.
  9. Check the best opportunity - a good offer - and start planning your move.
  10. Take action - choose your new home and start throwing away things you do not need any more, pack your things that you will not need any more until the move and ...
When important decisions are taken with a profound background of information and looking at the issue from different aspects your decision will be more stable - it will be a solid rock on which you can build further activities and decisions. Good decisions will not be revised every day again and again - when every morning the priorities change completely.

Related post: Direction over goals.

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