Effective Decision-Making

decision making

Slow decision-making wastes time. But procrastinating on decision-making is worse. Fear of making the wrong decision keeps us from moving forward. JUST DO IT! You may make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. If you do nothing, that’s what will happen, nothing. You won’t accomplish anything nor learn anything. Here are five tips to help you in the decision-making process.

  1. Don’t wait until you have all the information. Have the courage to make decisions with only some of the facts.
  2. Spend time in proportion to the importance of the decision. Don’t waste a lot of time discussing minor issues. Make minor decisions quickly. If the consequence of the decision is not important, it is not worth much of your time.
  3. If the decision is yours alone to make, and you seem to be bogged down in the process, work on something unrelated for a while, and then tackle the problem anew. The change in pace will revitalize your thinking. But don’t be tempted to procrastinate.
  4. Always make short-term decisions with the future in mind. Don’t solve the immediate problems that result in time-consuming problems further down the road.
  5. Don’t waste time on past decisions. Move on and move forward.
Slow decision-making wastes time. But procrastinating on decision-making is worse. Click To Tweet

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Linda Samuels on July 19, 2021 at 10:12 am

    It’s the mulling over the array of choices and options that can often slow down decision-making. Or sometimes it’s the sense that you’re not equipped (don’t have enough information) to make a good decision. Low self-esteem can get in the way of moving forward. Not all decisions carry the same amount of weight or importance, as you mentioned. So if you’re struggling to choose, start with some easier, less controversial decisions first, like choosing which flavor ice cream cone to have or selecting a movie to watch on Netflix. Exercise the decision-making muscles on smaller things so that when it’s time for something more substantial, you’ll be in the habit of doing so.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 19, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      I oftentimes talk to clients about getting more information or doing more research, so they know more and can make a more confident decision. We’ve all seen the closet full of stuff clients think is valuable, but they aren’t really sure. We are there to support them in learning what they need to know.

  2. Seana Turner on July 19, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I think sometimes we freeze up because we are afraid of making a bad decision. Sometimes I tell myself, “Yes, you will make a few bad (or suboptimal) decisions, but this is normal.” No one makes perfect decisions every time. I find that with the stuff I’m putting off, I eventually get “in the mood” and then I summon the courage to move forward. However, I don’t know if that happens to everyone, and waiting to feel ready is rarely a good strategy.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 19, 2021 at 7:39 pm

      I have to say, I make a lot of quick decisions. Before I start over-thinking something I just make a decision. It help me to move forward.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on July 19, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Great motivational post. Thoughts really do stop us from taking action and getting things done. Blocking out time on a weekend to do tasks help me get things done. I start a list on Wednesday and leave it in the kitchen to add tasks that I will need to do that weekend. When the weekend comes, I take two to three hours and get everything done one after another. If you feel overwhelmed, blocking out time on a particular day will free up the present day. You must do it that designated day, so you are honest with yourself and showing how much you care about your wellbeing.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 19, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Great advice. I block off time on Sunday afternoons to get caught up from last week and get ready for the coming work week. Knowing that I’m going to do this means I can enjoy my Saturday and Sunday morning and not worry about work.

  4. Janet Barclay on July 19, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Brilliant advice for people like me who struggle with decision-making. I just need to remind myself how good I’ll feel once that decision is made, no matter how things turn out! To be honest, the decisions that plague me the most are the ones that are least important, like “What should I order off the menu?”

    • Janet Schiesl on July 19, 2021 at 7:34 pm

      I think most people struggle with the big decisions, but sometimes smaller decisions are hard because you have so many choices.

  5. Lucy Kelly on July 19, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    “Always make short-term decisions with the future in mind. Don’t solve the immediate problems that result in time-consuming problems further down the road.” So, so true, Janet! When deciding is hard, it’s tempting to just go with the easiest immediate solution but as you say, that often comes with its own set of problems.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 19, 2021 at 7:31 pm

      That’s why I feel limiting choices is a good idea.

  6. Julie Bestry on July 22, 2021 at 1:17 am

    The vast majority of the time, I know what I want once I’ve done sufficient research. That said, I suffer with item #1, especially when it requires spending money…like anything over $20. I am great at researching, but even when I’ve identified that almost-certainly-best choice, pulling the trigger is hard. I knew I wanted a Kia Soul. They only make three versions and I knew I didn’t want the fanciest version. A little bit more research assured me I wanted the middle one and only had to decide on which, if any extras I needed, but it was almost a year before I felt prepared to buy. What if the economy tanks? What if, what if, what if? In the end, I’ve realized that once I do my research, I really know what I want to do, and I need to learn to trust … not my judgment, but that my judgment is more important than aspects beyond my control.

  7. Janet Schiesl on July 23, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    Julie, I used to do that too. My limit was more like $50. I felt like I had to walk away and think about it. Then, if in a day or so I still wanted that item I would go back and purchase it. This kept me frugal through the years. I never impulse-bought anything but food.

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