Lately, I have struggled with analysis paralysis when attempting to make a decision. Sometimes it is as simple as deciding what to eat for dinner. Do I go with Korean BBQ because I crave short ribs or stick with pho because it is rainy and wet, and a beef soup would be just what the doctor ordered? Decisions, decisions!
I used to describe myself as a quick start. I historically fell into decisions rather than taking the time to process. My new, more deliberative stance has come from maturity, fear, and past consequences — maybe not for most dinner choices, but definitely for other decisions.
In business, you may struggle when deciding what practice management software to invest in, whether to move from hourly billing to flat fees, or whether it is time to let go of that paralegal who is just not working out.
Whether in your personal or professional life, making a decision is something we can waste a lot of time doing.
I will stick to five strategies for making decisions that affect you and your firm for this small law firm column. Where appropriate, feel free to apply the same rubric for decisions you may face in other areas of your life.
Take A Deep Breath … And Another One.
Regulating your breath is the easiest way to begin. Breathing helps you relax. Deep breathing is a beautiful way to lower the stress levels in your body, which helps your brain relax and settle down. Try it!
Find The Time To Think Without Interruption.
If you can, shut (and lock) your door, leave a note on the outside asking to not be disturbed. Turn off your phone and your devices that ring and ding for your attention. You may have to leave your home or office and go to a quiet space like a library study room or outdoors in nature.
Start A Pros And Cons List.
Make a list — write out the pros of your decision and the cons of your decision. Don’t limit your decisions to things like salary or status. Include things like time, mental health, family, friends, and personal satisfaction to what you value. You ultimately weigh what matters most to you.
Make A Choice.
Take a look at your list and pick the side that works for you. For example, if your pro is mental health and restful sleep, your cons are less money, loss of prestige, and early death, your pros will probably outweigh the cons. (Even if you find that one side outweighs the other, this doesn’t mean that that column should drive your decision.)
It’s Not Your Last Yes … Or No.
It doesn’t help that our society is more polarized than ever (or than ever was freely shared), and it seems like you have to stick with the decision you’ve made. Not so! You, like any other human being, can always reserve the right to change your mind. However, this won’t exempt you from consequences!
Do you resonate with this rubric for making a decision? Why or why not? Please let me know at email@example.com.
Iffy Ibekwe is the principal attorney and founder of Ibekwe Law, PLLC. She is an estate planning attorney evangelist for intergenerational wealth transfer with effective wills and trusts. Iffy is writing her first book on culturally competent estate planning, available in 2022 (prayers up!). She graduated from The University of Texas School of Law and has practiced law for over 14 years. Iffy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on her website, and on Instagram @thejustincaselawyer.