We all make many decisions on a daily basis, sometimes even without being aware of it. However, when it comes to making decisions that relate to work and situations that affect our mood and productivity, things can get a bit more challenging. While it’s common for people to look for ways to speed up their decision-making process, it’s also important to take a good look at your own behavior. Aside from trying to make your decisions faster, there are also bad mental habits that could make this whole ordeal stressful and everything but productive. Let’s take a look at what impairs your productivity and decision-making.
1. Split-Second Decisions
True, there are times when you have to make a decision on the fly – this is fine as long as these situations are rare and something beyond your control. What you can control, though, is your schedule. When you take one day to plan for the next week, you’ll also avoid the fatigue and stress of making the necessary decisions last minute. Keep in mind that the ideal decision-making period is between 8 am and 1 pm. Give yourself time.
While it’s important to take some time to come to the right decision, it’s equally important to avoid one of the biggest stressors and productivity killers out there – overthinking. Use your logic and information you have to make a solid decision – anything beyond that is unpredictable and out of your control. Therefore, there’s no point in overthinking yourself into stress and anxiety about the outcome.
3. Getting Easily Distracted
How many times has it happened that you reach a productivity peak and work on something full force only to get distracted by something trivial and lose your momentum completely? One too many? You already know what you have to do to minimize distractions around you: turn off your phone, create a quiet workstation area, and close unnecessary tabs in your browser. Most importantly, focus on one thing at a time. If you’re working on several projects, start with one and stick to it until completed. Don’t think about other projects or what you’ll have for dinner.
4. Fretting About What You Should Be Doing
You have to do your work, make the decisions all day long, and cover your responsibilities. All of this is true. But not all things that come your way will be equally important. You might have promised to do someone a favor, and while you can fulfill your promise, you shouldn’t trap yourself by fretting about where to squeeze in this particular favor so it can be done sooner – just because you’re supposed to help.
5. Comparing Yourself to Others
We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others at some point. However, this is a terrible habit you have to break as soon as possible, especially if it’s something you constantly do. There’s nothing wrong with learning from other people, but for the sake of your productivity, better decision-making, and sanity, it’s time to stop the comparison. What other people do doesn’t affect you in any way when it comes to your work and efficiency. In that sense, the best thing that you can do for yourself, both personally and professionally, is simply do your own thing and be the best that you can be – not someone else.
6. Ignoring Your Instincts
Listening to your gut can come in handy when you have to make decisions. While it’s true that this approach works the best when it comes to your personal life, when it comes to your job, it’s still important to gather all the info you have to make a sound decision. However, you can still make the most out of your instinct; if a certain decision seems to trigger inner turmoil, heaviness, and stress, it may be better to go with the other option.
7. Not Controlling the Outcome
You have the power and control to make the decision, but you have none of those when it comes to the outcome. This is precisely why some people procrastinate and actually fear decision-making. If this happens, remember that no one knows what happens next. All you can really do is try your best at the present time.
8. Sweating the Small Stuff
As mentioned, we make decisions about anything and everything every single day, but you shouldn’t allow trivial decision-making to impair what’s important. For instance, you really don’t need to spend 30 minutes trying to decide what to wear. Such stress and sweating the small stuff from the very beginning of the day will only set you back for the rest of it.
9. Trying to Be Perfect
Perfectionism is a lie. The only thing that trying to be perfect can do for you is destroy your productivity and make you question every single decision you have to make. This is no way to live or work.
10. Limiting Answers to Yes and No
There will be times when either “yes” or “no” will be acceptable answers, but you don’t have to limit yourself to those answers only. Neither life nor work is a game of Who Am I. Let’s say that you already have plans for the next day, thanks to your careful decision-making; if an opportunity arises to talk to a new client or business partner, you don’t have to refuse them by saying “no” straight away. Consult your schedule to possibly set another date for your meeting.
As you try to get rid of all the things that impair your productivity and decision-making, you may find the whole process easier if you apply the power of positive thinking to your days as well.