When Not to Make Important Decisions


We unconsciously make decisions everyday, from something mundane like putting on our shoes to life-changing decisions like buying a house.

Really good decisions are hard to come by, whereas bad decisions are a dime a dozen. Likewise, good decisions tend to get celebrated, while bad ones are usually swept under the rug.

So how can you go about making good – or at least better – decisions? The truth is you will likely never know with 100% certainty if a decision is good or bad without hindsight at your disposal. This, however, doesn’t preclude you from deliberately increasing your chance at making the right decisions.

Here are five things that you should avoid when the time comes to making an important decision.

1. When You Are Feeling Stressed

Your thoughts cannot be clear when you are under stress.

Poor decisions are usually made in unpleasant, chaotic circumstances whereas good ones tend to be made when you have the designated time and space.

It therefore makes a lot of sense to take in some deep breaths to help clear your mind before you make a decision especially since important decisions require critical and rational thinking. Being in a peaceful spot where you are unaffected by pressure and stress will be an added benefit.

2. When You Didn’t Consider the Alternative(s)

There is often more than one way to get things done. You only need to be curious.

Imagine a scenario where you had a date and it just so happened that you mom called and asked you to go to her place for dinner at the same time. Which option would you choose?

It all depends which one you prioritize i.e. treasure more.

Many people hardly take the time to consider the alternative(s) available to them. In the scenario above, this could include scheduling both at the same time at a mutual place or push back one to a later time.

Simply put, things are not always this or not, because there usually are other available options once you take a holistic view of the matter on hand.

3. When You Do Not Have Sufficient Information/Facts

Let facts be your decision making guide.

There are so many news headlines these days that it has become difficult to differentiate the real from the made up a.k.a. fake news. It is therefore imperative that you objectively determine what is true and not let your biases cloud your decision.

Obtaining all available facts is hardly an easy task but whenever you can, try to find out for yourself what is true and what is not when making decisions. Test your train of thought by taking the opposite stance/view and see if it holds more water.

Here is one decision making principle that you can try practicing.

4. When You Make Decisions Based Only on Emotions

Emotionally-charged decisions rarely work out.

How you feel at a given point in time plays a significant role in the outcome of your decision-making abilities.

Try recalling a time when you made a decision while angry. How well did it work out for you in hindsight? We’ll bet that most people tend to have some regret over the decisions they made while they were angry.

This is because being angry is perhaps one of the easiest ways to cloud your judgment. You will have difficulty thinking straight while you’re angry, not to mention how exhausting it can be to stay angry.

It is as such a no-brainer that decision making should be avoided during times when you feel frustrated.

5. When You Are Time Constrained

Try your best to not feel pressured while having to meet a deadline.

Being time constrained is in a lot of ways similar to feeling stressed in the sense that having a limited amount of time can distort your decision-making abilities. Some unscrupulous people knowingly use this tactic to get others to commit to something that they wouldn’t have agreed to otherwise.

So do yourself a favor and slow things down the next time you have to make an important decision while being time-pressed. You will be able to consider things that you wouldn’t have otherwise.