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How to Make Wiser Decisions When Faced With Tough Choices

Updated on April 14, 2013
Woman trying to make a decision
Woman trying to make a decision | Source

Decision Making Technique

How can decision making techniques help us? Considering the many pitfalls of decision making, you may feel that good decisions are somewhat impossible. However, you would be surprise to know that we all have the abilities to make wiser decisions; In fact, all we need is a more logical approach. This decision making process or worksheet which I am about to share with you, beyond all reasonable doubts, can help you to make better decisions.

Almost every single day of our lives we are often place in a situation where we have to make some form of decision, no matter how small they might be. Although Making simple decisions may not require much thoughts, some of the more major ones however, such as the decisions about jobs, mates, children, where to live, what to do with your money or how to make money in the first place, may not be readily made.

Quite frequently, we discover whether a decision is good or bad only after we make it and begin to see its consequences. Sometimes you may never know whether your choice was the correct one. If you decide to remain single for example, you can only imagine what your life would have been like if you had married.

Although there is no way to guarantee good decisions, a useful procedure exists that can increase your chances of doing somewhat better. This procedure worksheet, introduced by one social psychologist, defines the problem, lists possible solutions, assesses the considerations that enter into each solutions, and then provides a weighted evaluation of each option you can use to guide your choice.

It's considered too time-consuming to use for example, when the decision has to be make about where to go for dinner or which TV program to watch, and so on. However, the worksheet can be valuable when you are trying to decide on your college major, your career, your summer job, or even which used car you should buy.

Say for example, you have been offered these following three jobs:

  1. A job at McDonald's
  2. A job at an insurance agency doing filing and data entry
  3. A job working on a crew for a local landscape architect

Here, you are faced with the decision of accepting one of the above jobs. The question is however, how will you go about making this decision? Using this decision making process or procedure worksheet you may take the following steps:

  1. You can first decide what considerations(attributes)are important to you. It could be salary, your interest in the job, and working conditions.
  2. Next, you weight each attribute in terms of (A) Its relative importance = 1 ; (B) Somewhat important = 2.
  3. Then, using a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least, and 10 the most), you can estimate how well each job satisfies each consideration.
  4. After filling in each column, you then add them up. This should represent the simple sum.
  5. Finally, you should multiply each satisfaction figure by its importance, then add the products to get the weighted sum.

If one of the jobs rates highest in all three dimensions, or if one rates worst, your decision should be relatively easy. But when rankings of the alternatives differ across dimensions, as they usually do, you have to decide how to weigh the various dimensions themselves.

Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself: Is my interest in the job only half as important to me as the salary or working conditions? Are working conditions as important as salary?

Hypothetically speaking, say before you weigh the scores, the insurance company looks like your best bet. The poor working conditions on the landscape crew, which involves hard labor in the summer sun could be the reason the salary is so good.

Similarly, the quiet air-conditioned insurance office with no pressure and plenty of coffee breaks explains why that jobs pays so low. But if your weightings are correct, you would go to work on the landscape crew with the conviction that you have made the most nearly rational decisions you could.

According to one author, studies of college students indicate that those who used this worksheet method to select a college felt less hassled by the decision and were much more pleased with their choices than those who had used other methods. Based on findings, patient for example, who have utilized this worksheet method when making decisions about elective surgery have also reported similar benefits.

It's believed that the worksheet method gives people the feeling that their decision was made as reasonably as possible. The choices themselves aren't considered the benefits of this method; rather, it's the way it allows people to perceive the choices and reduce their later worries and regrets at not having made more wiser decisions.


Of course there are various other decision making techniques, however, this method seems more practical and easier to follow than the other. This technique is not only less time consuming, it can also help you to make better and wiser decisions.

(c)Copyright I: McFarlane 2012

Using Worksheet to Choose Among 3 Jobs

Importance of Attributes
Insurance Co.
Landscape Crew
Working Conditions
Simple sum
Weighted sum
rating: 1 = least; 10 = most


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