How to Perfect the Art of Decision-Making in Your Career and Life

Every day, we are presented with many decisions. Some of the decisions we face may often seem trivial and are often centered on simple daily tasks. But every decision, even the ones with little importance, can all have a ripple effect that ultimately affects the outcomes of our lives and influence some of the bigger things we are working on, like our careers. This doesn’t mean we should sweat the small stuff or over analyze the small decisions. When it comes to making significant decisions, mastering the art of decision-making is crucial. 

When it comes to our careers, we face many major decisions — which career path to take, which job offer to accept, whether you should embark on a new career path, whether you should relocate for a new opportunity, and so on. While it can be impossible to know the outcomes of our decisions ahead of time, perfecting the art of decision-making can help us make better choices. To perfect the art of decision-making, you’ll want to: 

Clearly Identify Your Goals

The first step in the art of decision-making is to clearly identify your goals. When it comes to your career, you’ll want to determine what path you’d like to take, or at least have a general idea. Once you can focus specifically on what your goals are, you can begin making well-informed decisions. Maybe you haven’t decided on every aspect of your career goals, but anything you can decide on is a good place to start. For example, maybe you know you want something that deals directly with programming, or maybe you know you want another IT job, but you’ve put a lot of importance on salary. Identify what you want most out of life and your career and go from there.

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Use the Process of Elimination

Knowing what you don’t want in a career can be just as important as knowing what you do want. If you’re still trying to figure out what it is that you want to do exactly, making good decisions can be challenging. However, if you know there are specific things you want to avoid, the process of elimination can help make certain decisions easier. Maybe you know for sure that you don’t want a job that involves web design, and maybe you know that you want to eliminate career paths that require several years of college. Once you begin eliminating these things, the art of decision-making gets easier. 

Use the S.W.O.T. Analysis Method

S.W.O.T. stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Performing a S.W.O.T. analysis is a great method for decision-making because it can easily help you identify the pros and cons of a particular decision. Visualize these items by drawing a square with four boxes that are labeled with each of these items, and fill in the boxes accordingly for the decision you’re considering. Focus on what connects strengths and opportunities as you finalize your decision. Anything that is constantly connecting threats and weaknesses should ideally be avoided. 

Simulate the Outcomes

Simulating potential outcomes may not be a completely foolproof way to know what will happen after making a specific decision, but there are some ways to simulate what is more likely to happen as the result of your decision. If you’re familiar with project management concepts, some of these same techniques to visualize outcomes from your decisions. You can also get more technical by using scientific methods, such as issue trees, SCQA (situation, complexity, question, answer), and MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive).

Review Your Available Options

Once you’ve identified your goals and know more about what you want (and don’t want) out of a career, going over your available options can help you make better decisions for accomplishing those goals. For example, if you know you need to further your education, explore the options that can help lead you to the best choice. What types of colleges or universities are available in your area that offer relevant programs of study? Are shorter, more specialized education programs a viable option for the career you want to pursue? Do you need a college degree, a certification, or will either be acceptable? Is one preferred over the other? Deciding what type of continuing education to pursue after college can be difficult, but if you know more about the available options that can help you achieve your goals, it can help you make the right decision for yourself. 

Ask for Advice

Odds are, someone you know once faced the same decisions that you’re currently facing. Asking for advice and getting feedback from friends and family members who were once in your shoes can be beneficial when it comes to making career and life choices. Ultimately, it’s about doing what makes you happy and what works best for you, but getting advice from those close to you can help when you’re torn between decisions. 

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Reflect on Mistakes and Learn From Them

Most of us make poor decisions from time to time — after all, we’re only human and nobody is perfect. But even it comes to bad choices, taking the time to reflect on these mistakes and learn from them can help when it comes to making other decisions. These lessons can provide opportunities for alternative ways you can approach problems and other choices, which can eventually help you perfect the art of decision-making. 

Enroll in Online Training Today

You will face numerous decisions throughout your life that are specifically related to your career. While it’s important to carefully consider the choices you’re about to make, one thing that you can almost always count on is the importance of higher education and earning the relevant credentials. Enrolling in a specialized training program, for example, can be the stepping stone you need to learn more about a new industry, enhance skills you already have, and become certified. Learn more about the various free online programs that Simplilearn offers to learn new things that might help you make better career decisions!

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