Each day, we make decisions that shape our lives. These can be big decisions such as to change careers, start a business or get an advanced degree or they can be as small as deciding what to focus on at a particular moment. "The devil is in the details" rings especially true here because too many ineffective small decisions can creep up on you and throw you off course.
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, it's your decisions that determines your success. Most people tend to be cognizant when they make the big decisions such as entering new markets, developing new products, etc… It's in the smaller decisions where we tend to get into trouble. Take the following list of decisions:
- Should I watch a little TV now or should I finish up my project?
- Should I surf the web for a little bit or should I return some phone calls?
- Should I allow myself to blow up at this person that infuriates me or should I let it go?
- Should I do another task on my to do list or make a personal phone call?
- Should I join in with my coworkers that are complaining about work or should I keep my thoughts to myself?
- Should I call my client who never showed up for a meeting and give him a piece of my mind, or should I let it go?
- Should I sit back and sulk because I didn't get the promotion I wanted, or should I think about another way to reach my goal?
Some of these decisions indicate procrastination while others might be so quick we may not even be aware that we've made a decision. This happens frequently in conversation where the action (talking) is so fast that we sometimes say the first thing that comes to mind before thinking about the consequences.
The trick here is to catch yourself when you make these decisions. Here's a couple tips to help improve the quality of little decisions:
- If you find that you procrastinate, whenever you make a decision to do something ask yourself if you're procrastinating.
- When you're angry or in another non-resourceful state, take the time to think a decision through before reacting.
- Make an effort to really think before you speak. When it's your turn to talk, pause for one or two seconds to gather your thoughts.
Keep in mind that small changes can often have powerful results. So just being conscious of what you're doing at a particular moment may be enough to get you moving in the right direction.
© 2007 James Feudo
James Feudo is a speaker, author and trainer specializing in communication skills. James has developed a series of programs to help people improve how they communicate with themselves, others and to groups. You can learn more about James at www.jamesfeudo.com and visit his blog at blog.jvf.com where you can sign up for free tips delivered to your email inbox.