By Bev James
“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.” (Author unknown)
Do you make decisions that work for you, quite quickly? Or are you more likely to procrastinate, to a point where the decision is made for you? Remember not making a decision is still a decision. The fine line between success and failure depends upon the decisions we make, those we choose not to make, and how quickly and effectively we make them — every moment of every day.
Everybody has a process for making a decision — even though they may not realize it. Knowing when to Do and when to Ditch an idea or action is lies at the heart of having the confidence to make things happen. It is possible to develop a healthy decision-making habit so that you are able to make more effective decisions more quickly. Get the decision-making habit by:
· Remaining focused. Review your priorities daily. If you know what is most important to you, you will make decisions that focus on the more important outcomes.
· Learning from your mistakes. Make sure you don’t make decisions that repeat past errors.
· Not delaying. Take action. Do something today. If you feel tempted to delay making a decision, it is probably because you don’t feel you have all the information you need to decide right now.
· Taking advice. There is no need to make an impromptu decision; instead, take the decision to ask someone else to provide the information or the action that you need.
· Being flexible. Recognize that there is usually more than one ‘right way’ to do things. It will enable you to delegate decisions more freely.
· Being self-disciplined. Successful people are successful because they are willing to make difficult decisions and to take actions that are uncomfortable, in order to achieve the outcome they want.
At its core, making any kind of decision comes down to saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ — to an idea, an action, behaviour, or outcome. It is also a response to a want or a need.
Wants will almost always drive decisions more than needs …
‘Do I need this extra piece of pie?’ No.
‘Do I want it?’ Yes.
‘Shall I eat it?’ Yes — DO IT!
However, your gut ‘Yes/DO IT!’ reaction may not always be the most appropriate way forward. Giving priority to what you want to do, rather than what you need to do is not necessarily a good idea.
‘Do I want this extra piece of pie?’ Yes.
‘Do I need it?’ No.
Will it take me nearer to my goal (for example, to eat more healthily)
‘Shall I eat it?’ No — DITCH IT!
ASSESS YOUR NEXT ACTION ON A SCALE OF ZERO TO 10
A very effective decision-making tool is to consider things on a scale of 0 to 10.
The next time you are procrastinating about what to do next, get yourself firmly back on track by asking:
‘On a scale of 0 to 10 how much closer will this action take me towards my primary goal?’
· 10 being, ‘The action will propel me much closer to achieving my goal.’
· 0 being, ‘The action will not help me to achieve my goal, and may take me further away from it.’
A low score doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Ditch it’. It just means you need more information — or that you have a self-limiting belief that may be holding you back and needs addressing to enable you to move forward.
If it is not a 10, ask yourself:
‘What next action will take me to closer to a 10?’
‘What is stopping me from taking the next step? (Is it money, skills, family, confidence, resources?)’
What is my greatest fear? (Is it failure, loss of face, loss of security, getting it wrong?)’
Keep testing your response on a scale of 0 to 10 until you are clear about your true direction.
Commit to taking action:
l Decide what is working.
l Identify the area that isn’t.
l Look at your options.
l Decide to do something about the area you have control over.
Prioritise: What is the commercial benefit to you now?
Prioritise those things that will increase revenue to your business. Make sure you are not using administrative tasks as a distraction and a way of ‘being busy’.
Schedule: If not now, when?
Don’t let your decisions escape. If you have identified an action, add it to your diary — and add an action date. The more you get used to doing this, the clearer your priorities will become.
Delegate: If not you, who?
Try to confine your actions to those tasks that only you can do. Outsource or delegate anything else that others can do more quickly, more cheaply and possibly more effectively than you can.
Monitor and measure: Review, Revise, Do It OR Ditch It
· Stay in control of the process. Once you have scheduled a task, keep it under review.
· Revise or ditch those things that aren’t working.
· Focus on doing only those things that truly add value to your life, your work or your business.
· Use, ‘on a scale of 0 to 10’, as your barometer for taking action and you will be amazed at how much more focused your actions become.
If you have a great idea, commit to DO-ing it or DITCH-ing it — but make sure that your best ideas don’t die a death from indecision, and keep the momentum going once you have got things started.
Decide what you want.
Make sure it is Realistic.
Stop making Excuses.
Monitor your progress.
About The Author
BEV JAMES is CEO of The Academy Group including the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy and EBA for Coaches, joint ventures with James Caan; and The Coaching Academy — the world largest training school for coaches. She is a millionaires’ mentor and a serial entrepreneur. This article has been adapted from her new book, DO IT! or DITCH IT: Turn ideas into action and make decisions that count, Virgin Books. www.bevjames.com http://twitter.com/Bev_James