14 Ways to Make Important Decisions Without Exhausting Yourself

Crucial decisions are a constant challenge for professionals. Not only is the impact of a major decision potentially far-reaching, but the lead-up to making the decision can be exhausting. However, as entrepreneurs, sometimes there’s simply no way to defer a decision to someone else within the company. The final choice is often yours, and yours alone.

This can result in stress, which can potentially harm how people see the world or their ability to pursue their aspirations. However, there are ways to better approach decision making. To find out more, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:

Q. Important decisions can be stressful. What is one way people can make the choices they need to without potentially exhausting themselves?

Here is their advice on how you can make essential decisions without giving in to emotional exhaustion.

1. Exercise and Write Things Down

The mind is powerful and, depending on your mental state, you could be making good or bad decisions at that time. I evaluate any major decision across a few days to make sure I am not stuck mentally from seeing something I might have missed before. Keep a running pros and cons list and make sure to get some exercise to clear your mind! The decision becomes easier the more time you spend on it. – Jeff Keenan, LeadsRx

2. Deal With It First

For big decisions, we often feel that we need our entire 100 percent focus to make that decision. This often never happens, and we are left making a last-second decision. It’s best to make stressful choices first thing in the morning. Write it out as a to-do list item and deal with it when you are fresh in the morning. Otherwise, you let the stress of making that decision bleed into other tasks. – Jason Khoo, Zupo

3. Have a Decision-Making Plan

Have a pre-planned decision-making formula and follow it. For example, make a pros and cons list or try the six-hat solution. When you have a method on hand, you won’t have to worry about how you will make a difficult decision and you can avoid potential exhaustion. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

4. Ask Your Trusted Network

Making important decisions can be stressful, for sure, but it’s generally less stressful if you don’t make the decision alone. Anytime I have important decisions to make, I usually go out to my trusted network for advice and direction. It helps immensely to get varying opinions and feedback, as well as have their support. Your trusted network is key for so many reasons, but especially here. – Erin Blaskie, Fellow.app

5. Set a Time Limit for Data Gathering

I find that the most exhausting part of making decisions is data gathering. I tend to spend too much time seeking out all the possible data points that could affect my decision while stressing out and worrying that I haven’t gathered all the data I could. I’ve found it helpful to set a time limit on my data gathering and then make the best decision I can based on what I’ve found. – Keith Shields, Designli

6. Define Your Values in Advance

It’s well documented that decision-making exhausts one’s willpower. The key to making good decisions repeatedly and without exhausting yourself is to know what matters ahead of time. This means defining your values and priorities. When you know what’s important to you, it will take you less time to make a decision and you’ll feel less exhausted. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

7. Reduce the Cost of Changing Your Mind

Software developers have this question figured out. They talk about creating a minimum viable product, then getting it in front of users to get real feedback about if it meets their needs. The MVP approach assumes they won’t make great decisions at first, but it gives them the power to rapidly adjust to feedback. You can use this approach in a wide variety of situations once you understand it. – Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva

8. Think of the Worst-Case Scenario

The majority of decisions are easily reversible. The majority of the time, making the right decision, but doing so fast, is often more important than always being right. When facing a big decision, figure out what the worst-case scenario is of either scenario and make your decision based on that. Jeff Bezos is a huge advocate of this type of decision-making, for example. – Karl Kangur, Above House

9. Adopt a Macro Mindset

A macro mindset can help contextualize any decision and not build it up in your mind. Visualize yourself as if you are a third person looking at you and pull out like Google Maps to the street view, all the way until you see the Earth from outer space. The reality is we are a speck on a floating ball in the universe, and while decisions today might feel big, they are small in the scheme of things. – Ashley Merrill, Lunya

10. Shave Off Emotions

During difficult situations, you can make very emotional decisions. Most decisions are made emotionally because that’s just how we process things. You always have to shave it off as much as possible. Few of us think logically and figure out a solution because it takes time. Every decision has life-long implications, and you have to make rational decisions 90 percent of the time and not be on autopilot. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

11. Understand the Story

A lot of the stress that comes from a decision is caused by the stories we make up in our heads of what could go wrong. You have to be honest with yourself and understand that your fears are not always reality. They are stories in your head. Find a way to push them aside and make the best decision you can. If something does go wrong, you can deal with it when it actually happens. – Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals

12. Do Something in Your Zone of Genius First

Give yourself a short amount of time to get in the flow with something you know and excel at. When you put yourself into the mindset of being completely present, it allows you to think more clearly. And, while doing something in your zone of genius, this will give you the confidence needed to step fully into your decision. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

13. Notice How You Physically Feel

The quickest way to make important decisions that you are confident in is to notice whether you feel yourself stepping toward or away from the choices at hand. One way to do this is to type up an email saying “yes” or “no” to the decisions and then notice which one you are more excited about sending off. It’s a matter of noticing what your physical reaction is sometimes. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

14. Try Doodling for Clarity

Doodling is a creative activity that uses your mind and your hand to express your ideas on paper. When you draw mental concepts on paper, your thoughts will seem more real. You’ll be able to express important thoughts and ideas through doodles that will give you greater clarity. Doodling will help you understand all the factors involved and will help you make the right decision. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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