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There is a way to make big decisions, but you have to prepare for them first. Here's how.
Before you make any big decision in business, there's one really important step to make. It will ease the burden of the decision, prepare you for the right mental frame of mind, and lead to a much better result in the end. Without this step, you won't make the best decision.
Before I get into the solution, let me describe the problem and how I realized the importance of making this one step. I'm in the process of making a major move across my state. It's interesting to compare moving now to when I was much younger. In college, I remember moving out of my dorm room. I carried a few pieces of furniture out to the curb and marked them with a "free" sign. I packed my clothes into one duffel bag. Done.
After college, I had collected a few trinkets here and there, maybe a couch and a bed, but moving was still fairly easy. Now, a move involves countless hours of sorting and decluttering. It's incredibly stressful because there are so many moving targets (not to mention moving boxes). Dozens of people will need to know about my address change. In the midst of this pandemonium, I had to make an important decision.
Then it hit me: I needed to reduce the chaos.
This is the one step that's so important. You have to be ruthless about it. If you have a major decision to make, it's important to do whatever you can to resolve any other problems, reduce your stress, get back into a regular routine, and find some peace. If you don't, the stress will overwhelm you. (It's the same reason I try to manage stress and not my time.)
So, what does that really look like? How do you do minimize chaos?
For me, I had to resolve some of the minor issues related to my move before making the bigger business decision. A project was taking too much time so I had to bow out of it. A colleague had a problem with me, so I had to make amends. It's almost like I had to reduce the clutter in my mind before I could make the best decision. And, I had to grab a bunch of boxes and move them out to the garage. I had to level-set. I had to chill out.
When I felt things were in order with my move and my job, I had to get back to my regular routine. This took some drastic steps. On a hunch, I pulled some items out of boxes and set up my office the way it was before. I even placed a few desk ornaments back onto a bookshelf. I listened to some of my favorite bands. As a more extreme measure, I called a few favorite business contacts just to feel a sense of normalcy. I also spent a few days going through my seven-minute morning routine, I made sure my inbox was clean, and I resolved a few work issues that were lingering. I told friends and family-I'm just getting back to my work routine. In essence, I was asking them to help me reduce my stress load and my chaos.
I also looked out a bit on my schedule. Nope, I won't be able to do that business trip. Sorry, those meetings are not important enough. I managed my decision by managing stress.
It worked. When it came time to make the big decision, I felt clear-minded. The stress and chaos seemed more manageable. The solution was actually really obvious.
If you have a big decision coming up, don't try to make it in the midst of chaos. Do what you can to reduce the clutter around you, both figuratively and literally. Then decide.
As always, let me know if you put this solution into practice and if it works. Just remember to be ruthless about reducing chaos and getting back to a normal routine first.