But one we haven’t touched on yet is the decision journal. Whenever you have a tricky choice on your hands, there are a few tips and tricks that this journal can help with to unlock some answers for you.
As well as the immediate benefit of clarity upon writing a few points down, there are multiple long-term benefits of keeping a decision journal, especially when it comes to the quality of your future decisions.
Step by Step
As well as religiously keeping a journal, Benjamin Franklin created a decision-making matrix – a step-by-step formula to help you make an informed decision – which largely consisted of a smart pro-and con list. Using this matrix as an example, it’s possible to create a framework for your decision-making within your own journal.
Sourcing mathematical and methodical reasoning to help come to the best conclusion, Franklin called the process “prudential algebra”.
Rather than simply jotting down each pro and con straight away he recommended mulling over the list for a few days and adding to it as both sides come to you. In a 1772 letter written to a man called Joseph Priestley, who reached out asking for advice, Franklin explained: “When these difficult cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under consideration all the reasons pro and con are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight.”
As with most journalling techniques, keeping to it consistently gets the best results. By regularly using your decision journal you will start to notice patterns in your decision-making process and its outcomes.
Taking time a few weeks and months down the line to check in on the decision you made will allow for increased perspective on the option you ended up choosing. From this you will learn and improve on your process.
Reinforce Your Decisions
Practice makes perfect. You may surprise yourself as you continue to check in on your progress with your journal. You will most likely discover that you make good decisions a lot of the time and this will in turn not only help you to follow a similar formula in the future but will also instill more faith in your own decision-making abilities. Why not start a decision-making journal today?
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