Make a decision and learn from it

Harold Taylor is a time management specialist.  This article appeared in his June 2015 Taylor Time newsletter and is still true today. Contact him to get on his mailing list and receive other great information on organizing time and space. Harold Taylor Time Consultants Inc  | 

The Thinker

Slow decision-making wastes time, as do spur-of-the-moment decisions, which usually result in costly and time-consuming mistakes. But the worst thing you can do is to procrastinate on decision-making. Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, once conducted a survey of successful people and found all of them were decisive. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. We learn from our mistakes; but if we do nothing, we neither accomplish anything nor learn anything.

Delay until you have enough information, but don’t wait until you have all the information. If you have all the information, the course of action becomes a foregone conclusion: no real decision is necessary. Have the courage to make decisions with only 70% to 80% of the facts. When you have mulled over the facts and considered, the alternatives, sleep on it. Decisions are usually better after a good night’s sleep.

Spend time in proportion to the importance of the decision. For instance, don’t waste a lot of time discussing the menu for the staff Christmas party. The decision to close down an operation or expand the product line warrants a greater expenditure of that costly commodity called time. Make minor decisions quickly. If the consequence of the decision is not important, it is not worth much of your valuable time.

If the decision is yours alone to make, and you seem to get bogged down in the process and get frustrated by your lack of progress, it’s frequently faster, in the long run, to leave the problem for a short period of time. Work on some unrelated jobs for a few hours or even a few days and then tackle the problem anew. The change in pace will revitalize your thinking. But delay it only once or you will be tempted to procrastinate.

Always make short-term decisions with long-term objectives in mind. Don’t make a band-aid decision that solves the immediate problem, but results in time-consuming problems further down the road.

And above all, don’t waste time on past decisions. Instead of saying “I if only I had done such and such,” say instead, “Next time I will ..”

If you need help making decisions about what to keep and what to let go book a 30 minute chat with me.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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15 thoughts on “Make a decision and learn from it”

  1. As someone who often struggles with decisions, I read this with great interest. One sentence in particular really stood out for me: “Delay until you have enough information, but don’t wait until you have all the information.” I will try to keep that in mind.

    1. I like that statement also. It is important to take chances and try something. Once you have done something you can adjust your response and continue to move forward.

  2. I love that thought, “Delay until you have enough information, but don’t wait until you have all the information.” So smart! We never have complete information, do we? And even if we think we do, something new might pop up. I tell clients all that time that no one makes perfect decisions. No one! If we bought a sweater but ended up not liking it, just donate it. No guilt, it just didn’t work out.

    I love Harold and his wisdom!!

  3. Harold is so wise. It’s wonderful how he encourages us to make decisions even if you don’t have ALL of the information. Because it’s rare that you ever will. If you wait to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, you probably will remain stuck. I also like that he says to have the “courage” to make a decision with 70-80% of the information. It does take courage to declare, ‘this is what I’m going to do!’ But it’s also OK to not have all decisions be 100% successful. We learn from what goes well and what doesn’t. So it’s a win either way.

  4. Oh, goodness, it’s as if Harold were peeking in my window. I always try to wait until I have ALLLLLL possible information before making an important decision. You wouldn’t believe how long I delayed in purchasing my car, to ensure there were no stones left unturned.

  5. I have taken classes from Harold Taylor and loved them. He is so wise. I agree with the others that having all the information is not necessary. Determine when you have enough and move forward with the best decision in that moment.

    1. A few of my clients have said to me that they have too much information and now they are more confused. It is hard to strike the best balance of information you need to make a decision and spend an appropriate amount of time to make the decision.

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