9 Tips for Effective Decision Making

Why is effective decision making important? What are some decision making tips?

Life is all about choices and decision-making.

We make decisions every day. From the simple decision of what to eat to the big ones like; career choices and the choice of a life partner.

While it requires little to nothing to make those small decisions, the big ones often seem daunting.

There are various internal and external factors that can influence our decision-making process, such as our values, beliefs, emotions, and cognitive biases.

When decision-making becomes a stressful undertaking, most people avoid making a decision altogether– indecision or end up making a wrong one.

“You are not the victim of the world, but rather the master of your own destiny. It is your choices and decisions that determine your destiny.”
― Roy T. Bennett

9 tips on making your Decision making process easy and Effective: 

1) Avoid Making Decisions When You Are Exhausted.

The process of decision-making is a mental one. It involves a lot of thinking, imagination, and predictions. Carrying out this process when you are worn out can easily lead to making a wrong decision.

I remember agreeing to help a friend with his startup. Unfortunately all meetings he had with his developers and everybody on the team were past 10pm for whatever reasons. I’m not a night person and have never made effort to be one.

I believe hunger, tiredness, fatigue, and lack of sleep shouldn’t go together with decision-making. Instead, postpone deciding until you are of a sound mind and healthy body.

2) Avoid Making Decisions When You Are Highly Emotional.

The average person makes 90% of decisions based on emotions. That’s why more often than not, they choose immediate gratification over long-term reward.

While decision-making shouldn’t be strictly logical, it also shouldn’t be an emotional process. There should be a balance between logic and intuition.

One way to achieve this is to avoid making decisions when your emotional levels are at their peak. Whether it’s a positive or negative emotion, the results are often the same. So pick a time when you can rein in your emotions to make clear-cut decisions.

You can choose to:

  • avoid picking the call
  • walk away when angry instead of saying what you’ll regret for life

3) Get Adequate Information: Research

In the simplest language – Do your homework.

Making decisions with a lack of information would seem tasking don’t you think?

You can see how stressful it is, trying to pick between choices you know nothing, or little about.

Instead of overthinking, get on with researching your choices. Fortunately, in this era getting information is as fast as logging into your browser and typing your questions.

Before you make a decision, ensure you are armed with adequate and correct information on your choices. Research is an important part of effective decision making. By researching your options, you can make sure that you are making the best decision possible.

My friend Bill on NotePD wrote more on this here:

10 Steps to Evaluate Information for Making Effective Decisions

4) Avoid Assumptions And Sentiments

We are humans. That means we can’t help but be sentimental, stereotypical, and assuming. Most people make decisions based on other people.

“My friend did that.”

“He did this.”

“I can’t pick this choice because it looks like…”

“I feel this doesn’t…”

“People who usually do this are…”

Stop assuming. Stop being sentimental and stop being stereotypical.

Approach decision-making with facts! Well researched facts. Not with what you heard or what you feel other people did.


5) Weigh The Pros And Cons.

Perception is a tricky thing. A choice may seem less attractive to you because of one negative thing, which will blind you to all the positives of that choice.

To avoid this, it’s advisable to list out the pros and cons of each choice. It means you have to think about the short and long-term consequences of each choice and match them to your values and future goals to see which is most appropriate for you. It is practical.

Get a piece of paper or a diary and list your future goals. Then in a tabular form, write down all the pros and cons of each choice. Make sure you do this after carrying out adequate research on each option. This way, it is easy to eliminate choices until you are left with just one.

6) Seek Opinions

Even if decisions you take only affect you, it’s not wrong to seek other people’s opinions. Some may have had to make similar choices before and can give you advice based on their experiences.

Though it is important to note that the opinions and advice are just that– they don’t make the decisions for you but make your decision-making process easy.

7) Don’t Be Too Worried About Making A Poor Decision

The hardest part of making a decision is the fear of making a poor one. And because of that, most people stave off making a decision. Apart from some decisions that we make once in life– which in my opinion, are very few, you can always correct a poor decision.

Do not avoid the process because you fear making a mistake. It is human to make mistakes. And your response shouldn’t be trying to avoid them but learning from them when they happen.

When making decisions, know that you can always correct your mistakes.“

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”― Theodore Roosevelt

8) Sleep on it

If you’re still not sure what to do, sometimes it’s best to sleep on it. This gives your brain time to process information and come up with a solution.

As I noted earlier, some decisions have far-reaching consequences that we can’t afford to rush into making them. Having time to think and gather information on your choices is necessary.

But on the other hand, it is dangerous to linger and draw out this process. It can lead to indecision.

9) Try Different Approaches

If you find yourself stuck, try looking at the problem from a different angle. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh perspective to find the solution.

When I advice people on how to leave their comfort zone, its always start with more “Yes” to different opportunities before you say no more often. I learnt this from the likes of Tim Ferris and other productivity experts.

Be open to new ideas and solutions. You never know where inspiration will strike, so it’s important to be open to all possibilities.

“People who are right most of the time are people who change their minds often.”― Jeff Bezos


The right decisions are always the hardest to make.

The first step is to understand what’s important to you, and then determine the choices and decisions that represent where you want to be.

Quit making decisions when you’re highly emotional, exhausted or in a hurry. Weigh the consequences, sleep on it at times and seek others opinions when necessary.

Imperfect action beats perfect inaction all the time. If you don’t want to continue in pain, you must make the right decisions everyday and focus your mind and your energy towards achieving your goals.



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