Decision Making

“Good household decision-making often relies on thinking about your household like a firm.” Emily Oster.

Think quick – make a choice now! We have all been in this situation many times before. When we are competent with something, like riding a bike, making a split-second decision can come naturally to us. However, when we are learning something new, or have not yet mastered a task or activity, making decisions may not come so quickly. It may require more thought and analysis of the situation. Decision making could be thought of as the process of evaluating the alternatives and choosing the best option.

When riding my bicycle, I am able to quickly take all my past experiences and knowledge to safely escape tricky situations, well so far. It happens so quickly and effortlessly that it may appear to the observer that I was just lucky, like the time I was riding along in the dark and a rabbit crossed my path. It was either me or the rabbit and it came out second best, while I managed to stay on two wheels. On the other hand, I remember sailing in Oyster Bay on the east coast of Tasmania on a catamaran on a windy day. Being an inexperienced sailor, a wind gust blew and I was too slow to make a decision so the boat capsized. Benefits of being able to make a decision quickly might help us to save our time and energy.

Saying all this, sometimes decisions may not need always to be made too quickly. Standing back and looking at all the facts can be critical to help us to decide the best course of action.

Study this list together and quickly decide which one you would like to try this week together.

  • Each person gets two different items. Take it in turns to put the first two items on the table. Everyone must choose one item and point to it as quickly as they can. Discuss why you chose that item.
  • Think about two meals you are planning to cook during the week. Tell everyone what these meals are and the person who makes the fastest choice, decides on that meal the next day.
  • Give someone two different characters to role play. They must choose one quickly then act out that character for one minute.
  • Read a picture storybook together. Choose which character is your favourite and discuss why.
  • Someone says two different colours. The person sitting next to them must quickly choose a colour and say why it is better than the other colour. Repeat this game but change colours to animals, cities, toys, etc.
  • Get out two different board games. Have one person quickly choose which game to play together.
  • Read two picture storybooks and quickly decide which one is the best. Discuss why you chose that book.
  • Go for a bike ride or walk together. Each time you come to a junction, flip a coin to decide which way to go. See where you end up.
  • Play a board game in pairs and each time it is your turn, work out what to do between the two of you.
  • Next time you are getting dressed on the weekend, let someone else choose what you are to wear.

During my years in high school, I was always working. I delivered papers, helped the local milkman, worked at the petrol station and also in the butcher shop. Eventually, the butchers took on an apprentice, so they had no need for me anymore. This sent me off looking for another job. I eventually found a restaurant in a trendy area of Melbourne where I started bussing tables, which involved clearing plates, cleaning tables and setting them up for the next customers. This was my first job in hospitality. Nearly 20 years later, I was working at a resort on the east coast of Tasmania when I decided that it was time for a change. Without any thought or idea of what was ahead, I chose to go back to study to become a primary school teacher. Over a decade later, I am clear that this was the right decision for me.

“Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.” John C. Maxwell.

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