9 Minute Decision Making


Most CEO’s make the majority of their decisions in less than 9 minutes. And a few decisions might take an hour, but rarely does the decision making process extend for longer than that time frame.

In my experience working with clients, I notice that sometimes people struggle with decision making. Often this struggle is based in the person concentrating on lack or worrying about losing something. For example thinking, “If I choose this, it means I’ll never get to do this other thing.”  There is also this thing called, “Fear of Failure”. If you have this kind of fear, you worry that if you make the wrong decision you will fail, or be a failure.  Few decisions are in a right or wrong category, though. Most decisions are between two good things. If a decision is between a bad thing and a good thing, that’s a no-brainer, you will of course choose the good thing.

Remember that few decisions are permanent. For example, if you choose a movie and it is a terrible movie, you can stop watching. If you buy the “wrong” car, you can sell it and buy another car. Let’s look at even more permanent decisions like naming a child. You can even change a name, go by a nickname, and sometimes the child changes his or her own name when they grow up. (I am not suggesting that you choose a child’s name in 9 minutes or less, by the way).

If you devote too much time waffling around in the decision making process, very little actually gets done.  Here are some tips to make quicker, better decisions.

First, note the importance of the decision and consider how much time you reasonably feel you need to make the decision.

Decide on a decision deadline (of course you can change this). For example tell yourself, “I am making this decision within the next few minutes.  (or half hour or by tomorrow or by next week).

Review the research or information you have.

Tune into your intuition or gut feeling about the decision. What feels like the right decision? People often report “knowing” their decision, but then spend another several minutes, hours, days or months turning it around in their minds. Have you ever interviewed people for a job and immediately you knew which one you wanted to hire, but then you started going over and over resumes and replaying the interviews in your head, only to go back to your first choice?

I was at a restaurant once speaking to the chef. I was trying to decide between two entrees and asked his advice. He told me he couldn’t give me advice because both dishes were so different. Then he asked which one I was drawn to first, when I told him, he said, “Then that is that right choice for you.” We laughed a bit, and it was a delicious meal.

Consider grouping some decisions automatically in the 9 minute or under category (where you will eat dinner, what movie you will see)

Consider grouping even more decisions in the 9 minute or under category (eg email subject titles, the price of a package, a picture for a facebook ad). I know you are going to say, “But I have to put time into this.” Yes, learn the principles of a good subject line, pricing, a good facebook ad photo, etc. So, then, in practice, you can decide faster.

Everything always has a first version, a version 1.0. No matter how much time you put into the first version, you learn from the first version. You will always be testing and tweaking. If you delay too long at the beginning, you will accomplish less.

Take imperfect action because there is no such thing as perfect action. There will always be something you want to change. The first iphone was very different from today’s version.

If you feel like you made a poor decision or maybe you feel like you made a good decision, but not a great decision, see what you can learn from it and let it go.

The more you practice quicker decision making, the better you get at it. And the bonus is that you will get more done, have more inner peace and more time available.

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Sheri Kaye Hoff, PhD. is a Business and Life Coach known for inspiring massive action and being a catalyst for business and professional growth in a way that is fun, relaxing, and fulfilling, Sheri inspires people to live their joy, do the work they love and make money so they can follow their own unique path to success.  She is a best selling author of multiple books. www.sherikayehoff.com

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