Decision-Making? 4 Ways to De-Clutter Your Thinking

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A decision is looming.

The team is expecting you to make the call.

Now is the time for clarity. Now is the time for an ability to organize your thoughts, weigh the most relevant data and sift through the most important opinions.

But instead, your mind seems to be a cluttered maelstrom of swirling, confusing and even contradictory facts and perspectives. Instead of the orderly thoughts required for clear decision-making, your mind seems to be a jumbled collection of disconnected datapoints.

You are suffering from one of the most debilitating conditions known to limit the effectiveness of leaders everywhere; your mind is cluttered.

Clear decision-making flows from an uncluttered mind. But since just about every leader can find themselves dealing with a cluttered mind from time to time, how can you go about de-cluttering your thinking in order to make the right leadership call?

Here are four essential starting points.

1. Maintain the discipline of reflection.

Nothing will clutter up your mind more that maintaining a break-neck pace, and squeezing out time for unhurried reflection.

This can take the form of periods of silent prayer or simply being still long enough to just think deeply at an unhurried pace.

However you do it, schedule times in your calendar to just slow down and reflect.

2. Ask lots of “What do you think?” questions.

And don’t limit these questions only to the experts and senior leaders in your world. Great wisdom resides in the hearts and minds of the most unlikely of advisors.

3. Stop gathering information.

One of the best ways to keep your mind de-cluttered is to prevent additional clutter from creeping in.

In other words, when the time has come to make the call, stop gathering information. Stop researching. Stop assembling opinions.

4. Ruthlessly delete irrelevant data and opinions.

A cluttered mind leads you to incorrectly believe that you should be considering every piece of information that has drifted into your thinking orbit.

That is simply not true. It means having the boldness to identify factors that are simply not relevant and knowingly discarding these from your thinking. It means identifying less helpful opinions and choosing to disregard them.

The more important the decision, the more important it is to bring your freshest, boldest, and clearest thinking to the table.

So stop information gathering, and begin the process of mental decluttering.

Because clear decision-making flows from clear thinking.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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