Stop Overthinking It: 9 Ways to Make Decisions With Confidence
Your mind is tangled up. And you can’t untangle it. But you have to make a decision—like now. So, what’s it gonna be? Time’s ticking. Have you made up your mind? Make up your mind! Time’s up! What’d you decide?
When you’re an indecisive person, it’s really hard for you to make quick decisions (or any decisions for that matter). And when you finally do, you start wondering if it was the right decision. And actually, now you just know it was the wrong one—probably, at least you think, well maybe not.
And the tangle just gets tanglier. You’re overthinking it. And it’s feeding your inability to make decisions quick and effectively.
Stop it. Stop overthinking everything.
Try these nine things instead, tips courtesy of the Young Entrepreneur Council, to make decisions with confidence.
1. Don’t give yourself analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis is the state of overthinking. Many business owners tend to overanalyze and suffer from this state of inaction. You can’t spend too much time thinking about every little detail, including worrying about all the little things that could go wrong.
—Anthony Pezzotti, Knowzo.com
2. Set an allotted time.
While many people believe you should sleep on decisions, that leads to overthinking and insomnia for me. I like to set a mental timer in my head of two to four hours tops in which I need to make a simple business decision with the overall goal of making it in under two hours. This gives me enough time to ponder the pros and cons of the decision, review any information and even consult someone else.
—Angela Ruth, Due.com
3. Take the “lean startup” approach.
Often a good decision now beats a great decision later, but understanding the cost of a bad decision is critical. If it’s something that is easy to change later, make your good decision now. Get data, see how it works and then you can make a more informed decision down the line. It’s analogous to the “lean startup” approach. Get something out there to test and improve.
—Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
4. Use the 10-10-10 method.
Ask yourself if you will be pleased with your decision 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now. This strategy makes you consider the short-term, medium-term and long-term consequences or, hopefully, benefits that come with your decision. I’ve found that the more you apply this technique, the more confident you’ll become at making quick decisions because you’ve considered all time frames.
—David Ciccarelli, Voices.com
Related: 8 Ways to Be a More Confident Person
5. Write it down.
It’s the first thing my mentor asks when I suffer from indecision: “Did you write it down?” The clarity attained from writing down the problem and potential solutions should not be underestimated. Once the list has been created, it can then be beneficial to phone a respected colleague and run through the list with them.
—Peter Awad, Slow Hustle
6. List the pros and cons.
By writing the pros and cons of a decision and its costs and benefits, I can transition the information out of my head and into simple statistics. Once I have the pros and cons in front of me, especially if it’s matched to a mind map of our current tasks, then we can see if a particular decision is beneficial for the big picture.
—Marcela DeVivo, Homeselfe
7. Hit the history books.
Not the literal history books, but there is bound to be something out there that has a connection to what you’re currently experiencing. Research business decisions, either from major corporations or from your business-owning friends to judge what is really the most likely end to whichever path you take. Understand the consequences as completely as possible to get the noise without the static.
—Adam Steele, The Magistrate
8. Call a friend.
Most decisions in business are simple. The thing that differentiates businesspeople from others is a willingness to make them. If I’m starting to overthink things, I call my brother-in-law, a plastic surgeon with zero business experience, but great common sense. He’ll come to a conclusion quickly, explain his reasoning and it will suddenly seem much easier to act upon.
—Joel Butterly, InGenius Prep
9. Trust your gut.
My gut has never failed me in making a decision in my companies. I always trust my gut. Anytime I have not, I have been wrong. Thinking accesses the logical part of the brain, but at the limbic level, if there is a feeling telling me something different from my mind, I always lean that way.
—Matt Shoup, CafeConLecheWithMatt.com
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.