How to make a decision quickly

How to make a decision quickly

When you need to make a quick decision on an issue that is relevant and can have significant consequences, it is best to reduce the pressure, make a global assessment of the situation and trust your own experience.

How to make a decision quickly

Last update: April 28, 2021

In an ideal world when we have to make a decision, we can take the time to calmly think about the steps to follow and therefore define the most appropriate path. However, many times we are forced to make a decision quickly, because required by the circumstances.



The problem with haste is that very often it leads to error, but sometimes we have no choice. It is necessary to make a decision quickly and, even if we are not in the ideal situation, not doing it could have negative consequences.

"Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right."

-Phil McGraw-

If the situation is relatively simple, we will probably have no problem making a decision quickly: we will let ourselves be guided by intuition. If, on the other hand, it is a complex situation, things change.

In this case, it is not enough to let oneself rely on one's own experience. What to do then? Here you are some tips to quickly make an effective decision.


The pressure when we have to make a decision quickly

It is good to spend as much time as possible in resolving the matter, even if we have to make a decision quickly. Sometimes we feel between a rock and a hard place and we work things out with great anguish.


Anguish changes our perception of events and can lead us to make the wrong decision. We can identify major or minor risks, but we tend to overlook the details.

It is therefore advisable to take even a few minutes to regain calm. Taking a deep breath helps relieve pressure and think more clearly.


Clearly define the decision to be made

Sometimes it's not so clear what exactly we need to decide. One of the factors that helps clarify this is specifying the goal to be achieved. Why do you have to make a decision quickly? To get or avoid what?

Once we have made it clear what we have to decide, we will also know if the decision is really our responsibility or if we should delegate it to someone else.

It is always best to delegate when there is someone who has more knowledge or more expertise on an issue to be resolved.

Do a risk assessment

When the decision is within our competence and we need to make it quickly, it is useful to take a few minutes to evaluate any risks. It is simply necessary to identify the main danger any decision.

If the risk is high, it is worth identifying the main consequence if we do not make an immediate decision. If you have a margin of waiting, better use it.

If, on the other hand, the question cannot be postponed, try andbe very cautious in the actions to be taken.


Relevant data and information

Faced with the urgency of making a decision, it is common not to have all the necessary information. If you have very little time, you will not be able to collect all the data you need, but at least make sure you have the most important ones.


Based on the risk assessment, try to define if relevant data or information is missing, because in this way the risks increase.

If so, find a way to get that data. The more it affects the final result, the more important it is to know what exactly we are going through.


Apply the 10-10-10 rule

The 10-10-10 technique is very useful for making decisions under normal conditions. It is also suitable for resolving a situation under pressure and with little time available. The advantage is that it helps us to project the effects of the decision.


Think about how you will feel between, 10 months and 10 years after making the decision, one way or another. Each choice has short, medium and long term consequences. This technique helps visualize these effects.

Try to be consistent with your choices

Faced with the need to make a decision quickly, it is not a good idea to change the way you think or act. In other words, it's not the ideal situation to be creative or take a gamble.


Conversely, it is useful to rely on one's own convictions and previous experiences. Trust what you already know and don't make any significant changes. When making a decision, there are inevitably risks, but we can minimize them if we already have a proven basis.

Whenever you can, take the time to make an important decision. Sometimes, however, that won't be possible. In these cases, you will need to trust your instincts and personal resources to follow the correct approach.

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