“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” ~ Tony Robbins
Where do I go to college or university? Who do I marry?
Which person do I hire? Should I buy this stock? Where should I live?
Every day, we make decisions. With many, the outcome is inconsequential. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter whether you ate Mexican, Chinese, or chose to eat at home.
Others are longer-term, where we have to contend with the outcome of our decision for weeks, months, or even years. Depending on our station, we are making those types of decisions on a regular basis.
There are many people who simply rely on their ‘gut’ when they make a decision – they do not use analysis or knowledge, merely intuition.
Some decisions require more thought.
Enter the Decision Journal
A decision journal is a handwritten journal that is used to thoroughly analyse an upcoming decision.
It serves two purposes:
1. A decision journal helps you collect your thoughts on a matter, bestowing more clarity on the decision itself.
2. That decision journal allows you to see the process you went through to come to a decision, objectively letting you see whether you were right or wrong.
This type of leather journal is used with people in management positions, the people who are facing monumental decisions on a regular basis. It’s used as a tool to improve the decision-making process.
The Decision Journal Process
Get yourself a leather journal. The pages can be lined or unlined, depending on your personal thought process. We prefer unlined because we like drawing flow charts.
Write the pending decision question at the top of a page.
Should I invest my savings in Acme Widgets?
Should XeroCorp focus on R&D or Operations?
Should I take this new position?
1. Write down the events leading up to the decision
Once you have written down the decision that you need to make, write down the events leading up to the decision. Write down the history using clear and concise language. Ambiguous language will only confuse you at this stage.
2. Write the facets of the decision itself
After you have the appropriate background, write the facets of the decision itself. What are the good points and the bad points of making this decision? What complications could potentially arise?
3. Talk about the roads you’re not taking
Note down exactly why these options were turned down.
4. Analyse the range of possible outcomes
Brainstorm and analyse the range of outcomes that you can possibly receive from this decision. Be realistic about what could happen from making this decision, and express the probabilities and possibilities surrounding it.
5. Be as thorough as you can
In other words, be as thorough as you can about the decision that you have to make. Don’t hold back while you thoroughly analyse your choices. Write your decision journal so that someone reading it a year from now will understand what happened.
Irrefutable Benefits of Handwriting a Decision Journal
You have a computer at your fingertips. Why should you write this journal by hand?
Handwriting forces clarity in writing – as it’s an intrinsically slower process, it forces you to truly engage and interact with the decision.
You have a thorough record of the events leading up to the decision, including the process that you went through to arrive at that decision. Handwriting provides an additional gravitas to the situation.
Decision journals, when they are handwritten, are less likely to be altered after the fact to make the author look good. It’s very easy to change a computer file, but revisions are harder when performed with ink and paper.
If you are wrestling with one of life’s big decisions, writing a decision journal will help you to realise the best outcome. It provides you with clarity, both now and in the future, about why you made the right choice for you.