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Does Your Problem Deserve a Decision?

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Post Does Your Problem Deserve a Decision?   Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:43 pm

This is a short article but it makes a key point: That we all waste a lot of time trying to make a decision on something that doesn't deserve a decision.

"I was driving from Dallas to Houston. I'd planned to spend the night in Houston, out by the International Airport, but with ninety miles still to go, I found myself dozing at the wheel. I started looking for a place to spend the night. I saw a billboard for a motel, but as I was about to pull off, I saw another billboard that looked better, so I kept going. Several times I was tempted to pull off, but I kept on going in the hope of finding something better. I just didn't seem able to decide."

Because the long-term consequences aren't great, this is a problem that should immediately be solved by establishing parameters.

He should decide what he won't accept, and take the first thing that doesn't violate the parameters. For example, he may say, "I'm not going to pay more than $75 for a room, it has to have a private bathroom, and it has to be clean." Which means that the perfect decision here is to pull off the highway and take the first motel that meets those criteria.

Another example:

"I was on the late night flight home from a business trip. In the airport bookstore, I was looking for a book to read, in case I couldn't sleep on the plane. "The more I looked, the harder the choice got. I started looking the in the best sellers section but couldn't see anything that looked like fun. Soon I was dithering so badly that I couldn't think straight

Hey, come on! This situation doesn't justify a problem solving technique. She should establish parameters, pick something, and move on. Perhaps she didn't want to pay for hardcover, didn't like romances or war stories, and she's too tired to read a business book. Anything else is OK, so she should pick the first book that falls within her parameters, and move on.

Always consider whether the problem even deserves your concern. How great are the long-term consequences? If consequences are not that great, use parameters to decide how you're going to solve the problem.

Does your problem deserve a decision? If not, establish parameters, and pick the first choice that falls within them.
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