How to Make a Fast Decision in Life

When you need to make a fast decision about a relevant matter with big consequences, it's best to reduce the pressure, assess the situation, and trust in what you already did.
How to Make a Fast Decision in Life

Last update: 06 March, 2021

In the best scenario, you can take any time you need to think through what to do next and make good decisions. However, many times you have to make fast decisions because the circumstances demand it.

Most of the time, making rush decisions leads to bad things. The problem is that sometimes you have no other choice. You need to make a fast decision and, even when this isn’t always great, not doing it can be worse.

“Sometimes you make the right decisions, other times you make it the right decision.”

-Phil McGraw-

If the situation is simple, you probably won’t have any issues making a fast decision. You just go with your gut and that’s that. However, when it’s a difficult situation, things change. In this case, you can rush into anything. What can you do? Here are a few tips to help you out.

Making a fast decision happens a lot during exams.

The pressure you feel before making a fast decision

It’s helpful to take all the time you can to solve the issue, even when you have to make a decision fast. Sometimes, you’re between a rock and a hard place and solve things with a lot of anxiety.

This anxiety can distort your reality and this isn’t a good thing. You’ll see the same risks bigger or smaller than they really are and you’ll miss on the details. Thus, the best thing you can do is take a few minutes to calm down. Deep breathing can help you release some pressure and think more clearly.

Define the decision you’re about the make

Sometimes you don’t know what you need to decide exactly. One of the best things you can do is understanding what you need. Why do you need to make a decision now? To get or to avoid what?

Once you understand what you need to decide on, it’ll be possible to know if it’s really up to you or if someone else should make that decision for you. Whenever you can, it’s always best to delegate that task to someone who knows more or has more experience in the matter at hand.

Mug in the foreground and man in the background.

Risk assessment

If you need to make the decision and you have little time to do it, take a few minutes and make a risk assessment. You just need to identify what’s the main danger regarding the choice you’re making.

If the risk is too high, think about the main consequence of not making a decision fast. Whenever there’s an error margin, take it. If, however, you can’t push things back, try to be very conservative about what you do.

Do you have all the information you need?

Most of the time, you won’t have all the information you need to make a decision. If you’re short on time, you won’t gather all the information you need but you should take into account the most important things.

Going from the risk assessment you do, try to define if you’re missing information that’s relevant to mitigate the risk. If you do, try to find a way to get that information. The more it affects the decision you’re planning to make, the more important it is to know it.

A man thinking before making a fast decision.

Use an express 10-10-10

The 10-10-10 technique is very useful to make decisions in normal conditions. It’s also great to solve anything when you’re under pressure and have little time. It can help you project the effects of any decision.

Think about how you’ll feel in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years later after making that fast decision. Every decision has its consequences in the short, medium, or long term. This technique will help you visualize those effects.

Try to make a conscious decision

Whenever you need to make a fast decision, it’s not a good idea to suddenly change the way you think or act. In other words, this isn’t the best time to get creative or to rehearse something you haven’t done before.

Learn from your past and previous experience. Trust in what you already know and don’t make any big changes. Making fast decisions is a risk and you can minimize it by going from things you already know.

Whenever you can, ask or demand more time before you make an important decision. Sometimes, this will be impossible. In these cases, you need to trust your intuition and personal resources to get the best approach you can.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • ISolano, A. I. (2003). Toma de decisiones gerenciales. Tecnología en marcha, 16(3), 44-51.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.