Being a habitually indecisive person is an extreme sport. Spending many days trying to settle on a decision. Then you end up changing your mind a couple more times again. It is a harmful habit. Being skillfully decisive can be a helpful objective in your career, business and personal life. It’s not just about being able to make big decisions, however, making minor decisions successfully could also affect your overall performance and productivity. Whichever way you look at it, having responsible decision-making skills is critical. If you’re convinced that it’s time for a change, the following steps are a good starting point. Decision-making skills for students is a very important stage of their lives.
Ways To Improve Students Decision-Making
Don’t Overthink It
This advice might be cliche, but it’s still good advice. While weighing your options, you might find yourself considering how your decision could affect your career or personal life in a few years. This isn’t necessarily bad. Taking short and long-term effects into account helps you realise what the best decision is. The problems arise, however, when you start over-analyzing those probabilities while moving back-and-forth between options.
It’s essential to consider the possible outcomes of a decision, especially if there are high stakes involved. However, when you spend hours analysing and estimating every likely scenario, instead of preparing you for the impact, it shakes your ability to settle on a decision. To avoid this, you need to follow a structured approach. Make a pros-and-cons list, if necessary, and try to be objective about which option outweighs the other. Having an objective strategy will help you make informed decisions, and it will stop you from getting sucked into a whirlpool of “what ifs”. Even if worst-case scenarios play out in your mind, don’t underestimate your ability to overcome them.
Have Clear Goals
Keeping a clear goal in mind is one of the decision-making skills for students. Let’s say you’re given two options: one, you keep your current job, which is monotonous but offers a high income. Two, you pursue an exciting new career without steady pay.
If your goal is to save up and have financial stability, then you would probably lean towards the first option. However, if your goal is to travel and learn new skills, then your decision should be based on that objective. Even if it’s riskier, it lines up with your personal career goals, thus making it the best choice.
Therefore, decision-making skills for students should be informed by goals. This will allow you to settle on what can lead to the desired outcome. Keeping in mind what you want to achieve with your decision will improve your skills and help you effectively approach any situation.
Set Time Limits
Sometimes, having too much time to decide on something can be your worst enemy. It could be useful to set yourself a timeframe in which you need to make your decision. Let’s say you need to decide whether you should use the last of your vacation days to attend your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate’s wedding or not. Set yourself a specific date to make this decision which will help you manage your time well too.
Not only will it help you organise yourself better, but it will also restrict you from repeatedly jumping from one option to the next. As a result, having a virtual deadline will help you conclude quicker, and it will make you a more effective decision-maker.
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Do Your Research
“People are inclined to automatically accept things as ‘true’ and make snap decisions based on limited information” Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer suggests. Making everyday decisions that don’t require calculation is quite useful. However, with decisions that could affect the balance between your career and your personal life, doing research could be a more critical step.
If you want to develop the ways decisions are made, you could implement evidence-based management. This management style incorporates scientific evidence to help you reach decisions and enables you to pursue a logical and practical route when making decisions that affect your business. If the good old ways of management have not been effective, it might be time to switch the way decisions are made.
Major decisions usually require thorough research. The more informed you are, the less uncertain you’ll feel. Examine the data you have and consult the information available to you. Of course, make sure that these are both relevant and objective.
Trust Your Gut
How many times have you based a decision on a feeling? Well, let me tell you that you’re right to do so. Intuition is an important element in any decision-making skills for students. It’s a combination of past experiences and personal values that affects every decision you make.
There’s actual science behind your “gut feeling”. William Duggan, associate professor of management at one of the best business schools, identifies three types of intuition. They are ordinary, expert and strategic intuition, mentioned in his book Strategic Intuition. While the first two are based on instinct and snap judgements, the third one works in new and unfamiliar situations.
Therefore, it might be worth taking your intuition into account when trying to arrive at a decision. Sometimes you just know what is right for you, and being tuned in with those emotions could work to your advantage. That said, don’t base important decisions solely on intuition. While it should be a contributing factor to decision-making skills for students, you should refer to additional information on the matter and make a knowledgeable decision.
Developing Decision-Making Skills In Students:
Think Like a Satisficer
The Development of Decision-Making Skills in Psychology has two types of decision-makers:
Each type approaches decisions quite differently. A maximiser strives to make the most informed decision they can, but a satisficer evaluates options based on their essential needs.
When you are ‘satisficing’, you prioritise an acceptable solution over an excellent solution. This does not mean that satisficers have low criteria. It simply means that they will make their decision as soon as they discover an option that meets their required standards.
A maximiser, on the other hand, is inclined to circulate all available options and exhaust every resource before concluding. This takes a lot more time and energy and often leaves maximisers feeling uncertain and dissatisfied with the decision they end up making.
Consequently, while research is essential, knowing when to stop is equally so. Once you have all the information you need to make your decision, do so and don’t look back.
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