Big Decisions: Should we always sleep on them first?

What do you do when you’ve got that really big decision to make?

Do you take time out and perhaps sleep on it?                                                                              

Do you ask a friend, your partner or a colleague for their advice?

You may well have done all of the above. But what about when you don’t have the luxury of time, or others to ask? There are many instances where we have to make a significant decision – now.

We make around 30,000 decisions a day. OK they may not be all big or that important (and if the concern is whether to go for a regular or a large Latte, it’s not that big a decision).

In our daily work we make lots of decisions, fast.

“Do you want it or not?”

“I need your decision now! I haven’t got all day you know.”

“Are you in or out? There are plenty of others who will take up the offer if you don’t.”

When we feel rushed into something where we haven’t had time to consider all our options, we can feel a bit cheated. No one likes feeling that amount of pressure because it undermines our confidence that the decision was right. It’s like dealing with the over pushy car salesperson keen to make his commission who is less concerned about whether you’re happy with your new car purchase or not.

But weighing things up carefully, considering all the pros and cons, can all feel a bit hard and confusing. No wonder we feel exhausted from our mind going round and round in circles.

One way to overcome this impasse is to step away and stop thinking about it.


Though it sounds counterintuitive, stepping away from a problem we’ve become bogged down in provides our brain the breathing space it needs to work out the best solution.

Better still, you don’t have to leave the problem for too long – around two minutes should do.

When we are too focused on a making a choice, (and especially if it has a significant emotional component) we’re missing out on alternative route to bring us to our destination of choice.

Using insight is a valuable tool we can use to help us make the right decision, more of the time. We gain our insights from accessing our mighty subconscious.

The modern workplace demands high performance thinking.

One strategy we can learn is to how to develop more insightful thinking and how to quickly flip between analysis and insight.

So next time you’re stuck on a difficult decision there are 3 things you can do:

1.    Take a rain check and sleep on it. Your mind will work so much better when you are cognitively refreshed.
2.    Ask others for their advice and gather as much information as you can to come up with a decision based on logic and analysis.
3.    Step away and divert your thinking to something else and allow your brain to come up with an insight.

So, was it a regular or large Latte this time?

How do you make those really big and important decisions in your life?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/23379857@N00/3698516141/”>tomswift46 ( Hi Res Images for Sale)</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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