Keeping a Decision Journal

One of the key functions of every job is making decisions. But many of us are not as effective at making decisions as we could be. Often, we act with incomplete information, buffeted by our emotions, and not thinking things through.
But there is a simple way to help improve decision making, a way that enables you to analyze information more effectively and to organize your thoughts more coherently. You simply write down your decision making process in a journal, compiling a record of the course you took in reaching your decision.
Here is what you need to include in your record:
1. The when
You need to record the date
2. The what – the problem you are trying to resolve
Write down what you are trying to decide, whether to leave your job, for example.
3. Record your emotions
How are you feeling when you think about this issue? Are you angry, excited, fearful, joyful, confused or anxious.
4. The Circumstances
What are the circumstances surrounding the decision? What has led up to it and is the reason for it. For example, you no longer feel fulfilled doing your job, that you are simply treading water, doing the same things day after day.
5. The Obstacles
In more detail, record exactly what kinds of things are precipitating this decision. In the job example, some of these might be that your supervisor is not giving you enough feedback, or that you are not getting the opportunity to develop your skills.
6. The Repercussions
What will happen as a result of your decision? For example, will your leaving put more pressure and work on coworkers? How
will it affect your finances? Your family?
7. The Solutions
Write down what possible solutions there might be. For example, leaving your job to go to another company or possibly moving to another department in your current company.
8. The Result
What will result from your different solutions? How will it alter your attitudes, your life, your feelings?
9. What Happened
What decision did you make and did it meet your expectations?
10. The Review
Several months after you made your decision, take the time to think about the process again. How do you feel about it now? Do you think it was the right one?
Writing things down in this way helps you to see your thought processes more clearly and to bring all of the issues into better focus.
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