When we are making difficult decisions, we expect to devote dedicated time and effort to making them. If we are launching a new product, new department, or new business we consult org charts, spreadsheets, if-then analyses, and calculators. We don’t consult these things when we are making simple decisions. If you are like me, you spend more time on the little decisions than you’d like to admit. And just like the ocean is made up of small drops, so is our progress made up of small choices.
Earlier this week, I sat down at my desk and was discouraged to find a ton of new emails, millions of unfinished tasks, and a pile of snail mail. (Ok, I’m exaggerating, emails can’t be weighed.) Then, I spent the next five minutes trying to psych myself up to get started… But, where to start? Indecisiveness and procrastination on the little things add up to big consequences, like wasted time and inefficiency. No matter how I looked at it– I still had what seemed like an infinite number of itsy-bitsy decisions.
Here are a few ideas that helped me speed things up allowing me to work on the cool stuff:
- Use proven processes: Remember, you don’t have to make this stuff up. Research the tasks that are taking you too long; find out what others are doing. Once “your way” is established, do it YOUR WAY!
- Move forward with what you have: It would be so much easier if we had all of the needed information, or better yet, if we could predict the future. Sometimes it’s best to identify contingencies, employ them if we need them, and acknowledge that 80% CAN be good enough.
- Acknowledge emotions: The trickiest thing about tiny decisions is they have a way of being underestimated. Professionals may quickly dismissed emotions, but the way we feel about something can explain why small decisions are difficult.
- Just decide already: Right or wrong, just commit to something. Wishy-washy decision making diminishes credibility and confidence. Once a choice is made, allow for time to review new information or respond to changes. Typically, small decisions aren’t permanent and can be quickly refined.
Even small decisions can slow up our productivity. With a focused approached, these tiny crossroads are minimized. I find that once the little things are out of the way, I get to work on the big (fun) things. Our trivial efforts eventually add up to a big wave of progress!
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman, an Executive Business Consultant with Leading Synergies, helps high-performing executives refine strategy, inspire teams, and delight clients (specializing in information technology, project management, consulting, and franchise management). She also leads Synergy Groups, weekly 55-minute case study conference calls for REALLY BUSY Christians in leadership. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 20 years.|