Knowing how to make quick decisions under pressure is an important skill required in all activities of our daily life. If you feel like your decision-making abilities are not the best, then having to make quick decisions might end up bad for you, many times choosing to make the worst decision based on the wrong factors.

Imagine this simple but common scenario. You are having dinner at a restaurant with friends. Everyone else at the table places their order. The waiter turns to you and says, “What will you be having?”

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock … silence drops over the table as you feel everyone staring at you, waiting to make a quick decision. You sense pressure mounting as your eyes desperately scan for some menu item that you enjoy eating. Your heart races, your hands are shaking, and you blurt out, “I’ll have the same thing she is having,” as you point at one of your friends. This is decision making with a clock.

This is a classic example of not being able to make snap decisions. Here are some ways to deal with this type of decisions and how to choose the best answer to a quick decision.

1.      Don’t Stress Out

Some choices you have to make in life require a quick appraisal of the situation, and then a decision. You don’t have a lot of time to study all of your options. Just remember that, whether or not you want to make a decision quickly, you have to do exactly that. Making yourself stressed out and worried about deciding a really quick course of action will not help you make the right decision.

If you catch yourself over-thinking things frequently, the next time you do so, say “Stop!” out loud. If you’re in a public situation, make this exclamation silently to yourself. Then give yourself a 30 to 60 second window to come up with your choice. It may be that you only an even shorter time to make a decision. If so, decide.

2.      Follow your Gut Feelings

Throughout your life, you will be required to make a decision when you do not feel you are ready. Draw on all of your life experiences, and if need be, stick with your gut feelings. You just learned above that your instinct is often the voice of reason, so learn to listen to it.

Knowing how to make quick decisions will come in handy in all situations.
Knowing how to make quick decisions will come in handy in all situations.

3.      Analyze the Urgency

Also, if you are requested to make a quick decision, ask yourself if you really need to choose today. Just because someone else is asking you to make a snap decision doesn’t mean it has to be today. Ask them if it would be okay if you had a little time to think about the choice you are going to make.

If you truly must make a decision “right now”, choose the more peaceful, less chaotic option. If you don’t have much information and you choose to make a decision immediately, take the one that is going to create the least amount of disturbance in your life and environment.

In the area of financial decisions, you should probably never make a snap decision. Marketers will use scarcity, rising prices, bonuses and other tactics to try to get you to buy “right now”. Refusing to make a snap judgment in this situation is always the best bet. Sometimes the best decision “in the moment” is to pass on making a decision.


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