Is life really all about our choices?

Decision Making: 5 Methods That Will Help You

Making a decision can be quite a headache. Who doesn't know the back and forth, the pros and cons, the "what if ...?" Most people find it difficult to make big and important decisions. There is weighed up for days, sometimes weeks, all possibilities are played through in the mind, the carousel of thought turns. And even when a choice is finally made, the worry remains that it may have been the wrong decision after all. Sounds exhausting? It is.

So that you can make an orderly and easy decision-making process and get out of option paralysis, we have put together an overview of five methods for you to help you find out what is right for you. So you always make a well-considered decision - without sleepless nights!


Make a decision with the right method


Decision-making problems are common. Anyone looking for advice and assistance will quickly find what they are looking for: books, online coaching, articles, seminars - the range of formats is just as large as the number of good advice on how to make good decisions. And not every type of support suits everyone. As is so often the case here, “Try makes you smart”. Only by trial and error will you find out which method is easier for you to make decisions. So that you can get a first impression, we have five methods for you that can be easily implemented and tested at home.

Basically, however, no matter which method you use, you should create the most favorable framework conditions possible. To do this, you should:

  • To be rested! Fatigue clouds the senses.
  • To be focused! Consciously take your time for your question and ensure as little distraction as possible so that you really deal with your question and not with the laundry, the phone or the construction site across the street.
  • Be balanced! Dispute? Hunger? Stress? Try to be as relaxed and balanced as possible. Maybe you get to exercise or take a bath before making a decision.


5 methods of decision making



1) The classic - the pro-con list


The tried and tested pro-con list is the classic among decision-makers. The idea is as simple as it is easy to implement: Take a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle from top to bottom. On the one hand, you list point by point what speaks for the decision. On the other hand, write down any arguments that speak against it.

Such a list is particularly well suited - as the name suggests - to make yourself aware of all the pros and cons, to literally visualize and contrast which aspects speak for or against a certain decision. The sheer number of points on the pros or cons can be a good indicator of how you should decide.

Most of the time, however, it makes sense to weight the individual aspects: Perhaps there is a contra argument that cancels out several plus points because it is particularly important? The pro-con list is more suitable for yes / no decisions and less for a “What do I actually want?” Question, because the more alternatives there are to the debate, the more complex the selection becomes.


2) For visual types - decision canvas


If you're more of a visual type, a “decision canvas” might be right for you. This method is particularly widespread in the design of business plans and in project management, but is suitable in many situations. Even complex ideas and considerations can be clearly presented in the form of a canvas. This works particularly well because the eye “picks up” with this method: A canvas is usually A4 format and is clearly subdivided. This ensures tidy planning. So why not use a canvas as a basis for decision making?

So that you don't have to search long, we have developed a decision canvas for you. If you are currently planning your career start, want to find out where your career path should go or if you want to reorient yourself after a few years in the job, our canvas is a good way to sort your thoughts. It is important that you go into the individual aspects / questions of the canvas as specifically as possible, i.e. not write novels, but summarize the most important factors in a nutshell.


>> Download the decision canvas now!


And this is how our Monster Decision Canvas works:

  1. Print: Print out the canvas in A4 format and do not edit it digitally. The handwritten completion helps you to think more precisely and also activates unconscious and emotional impulses.
  2. To complete: Every single box on the canvas tells you which aspects you should deal with in more detail at this point. On the left “I” side, the questions revolve around you as a person, i.e. your strengths, weaknesses, goals and sources of inspiration, your motivators and stressors. The right is about the job and the work environment that you want. Which experiences you have already gained did you like well, which less well, which topics inspire you and what do you attach particular importance to. Try to always focus on the most important aspects.

Here some examples:

  • What am I not so good at? What am I always pushing ahead of me?
    If your first impulse is to answer here with house cleaning or a dentist appointment, think a little more in the direction of your job. Maybe routine tasks aren't your thing? Or particularly extensive tasks? Possible answers could be: billing, phone calls, conflict discussions, presentations, translation work, etc.
  • Who has influenced and inspired me the most in my life?Why?
    This is about getting an idea of ​​what your goals are and there is no right or wrong answer. Often the people who inspire us have already achieved something that inspires us and show us where we might like to go. So think about who inspires me, which path did these people take and what makes them special. There is no right and no wrong here: Whether grandma, teacher or boss: Who left you with such a lasting influence that you benefit from it to this day?
  • What did I not like at all about my last job / internship?
    Your answer to this question may be technical, deal with the physical workplace and working conditions, or relate to colleagues and superiors. An uncomfortable office? Outdated IT? Boring tasks? In this field you should deal with these and other aspects.
  1. Compare: When you've filled in all the boxes, it's time to get down to business. Reread all of your answers on the “Me” and “Job” page. Then you write the most important aspect for you from the respective area in the middle. Try not to put more than three points in the two middle boxes.
  2. Your "Perfect Fit": The answers that you have compiled on the canvas help you to classify which industry or which job in which type of company might suit you particularly well - your "perfect fit", so to speak. You can now compare job advertisements, company and industry profiles with the keywords from your canvas. For example, if you have stated that you like to work in a structured manner, that you do not value creativity and that security is very important to you, that speaks less for a startup. If you are a very unconventional person, get bored easily and also have a talent for languages, the advertising industry could be right for you. You should pay particular attention to the aspects in the two middle boxes during the evaluation.


Work in peace with the canvas when you (re) orientate yourself professionally. But be careful not to get lost in the questions and to ponder your answers. Above all, this tool should help you to bring more structure to a more complex question and at the same time set the process of self-reflection in motion so that you can make more informed decisions about your job and career.


3)Weighing the meaning - the 10-10-10 method


There are decisions that feel much more earth-shattering than they actually are. This means that you put yourself under a lot more pressure than is really necessary. You are only unnecessarily charging the situation with negative energy, which makes it even more difficult to make a decision. In fact, in the course of your life you will only make a handful of decisions that will have a really huge impact on the rest of your life.

To find out whether you are making an important decision or whether you are attaching too much importance to the situation, the 10-10-10 method is suitable. To do this, ask yourself the following question:

What influence will my decision ...

  • …in 10 minutes?
  • ... 10 months?
  • ... have 10 years?

Put yourself in your future self and answer these questions. You will quickly notice whether your decision has a long-term effect or is only of temporary importance. This way you can take the pressure off the situation and approach the decision in a more relaxed manner.


4) For those in a hurry - the gun test


A big problem in decision making is the time factor. You think about it, weigh up, go through different scenarios in your head and hey presto, a whole day is over. Some decisions have a natural time limit. The application for an advertised position or for a certain course of study, the award for a certain apartment - there is automatically a deadline. Time pressure can be very helpful to come to a decision. However, if the deadline is far in the future, it will tempt you to postpone it.

It can work wonders if you artificially put a little time pressure on yourself by setting a deadline for yourself. But how often do you not stick to it? For this case, Prof. Bernhard Roth has a method, the so-called gun test.

That's how it works: Sit across from someone you trust. He or she forms the hand into a pistol and threatens to fire the fictional weapon. You now have 15 seconds to make a decision. Sounds crazy? A bit yes. However, the thought behind the method is damn clever: If you imagine it's a matter of life and death, how do you decide in a split second? The method is well suited for either / or questions and literally targets your gut instinct - a good advisor for every decision!


5) Brave wins - random method


If you are particularly brave, you can also leave the decision to chance. To do this, however, you should be one step further when making a decision: A fundamental decision should never be left to chance. However, if you have already managed to isolate two variants from different possibilities with another method, chance can relieve you of a lot of thinking.

It may cost you to overcome it at first, but if you have to choose between two options that have equal advantages and disadvantages, or both are great, you should let fate decide. To do this, you can flip a coin, use a random number generator on the net, draw tickets or sticks - there are many options. As a support or continuation of another method, chance is a good advisor.


Decision making made easy


Whichever method you choose, always remember to pay attention to good framework conditions: hide stress, avoid distractions and get to the point well rested. It is essential that you face every important decision, not postpone it for too long. Take your life in hand and hold it like Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The biggest mistake you can make in life is always to be afraid of making a mistake.” Do you still need support when it comes to your job? Sign up for Monster for free. As a member, you will be sent exciting content and valuable tips on the subject of job search and "Perfect Fit" - so that you are sure to find the job that suits you. Because once you have found it, the decision to do so will be an easy one too!