This is a guest post from Gemma Reeves. Gemma is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business. Check out her company at FindMyWorkspace.

Decision making is among the many things in life that everyone has to go through, whether they like it or not. Decisions we run into on a daily basis come in various shapes and sizes that may or may not affect our future in big ways. They could go over the most mundane things, about the breakfast we’d like to have that day, or to the most difficult ones that can affect not only your life but others’ as well—think about doctors and lawyers.

Although making decisions have long been a part of us, with all of life’s twists and turns, highs and lows, and pauses and stops, many people still dread it. It’s one of the reasons some people do not like change, because change may require them to think through things that they are not used to, or make decisions that require more thought.

There are many reasons psychologists can point to as the reason behind why some people are capable of jumping into a decision with so much excitement while others seem to get petrified when faced with even the simplest decisions. They can all take out the childhood and environmental factors, plus the IQ, EQ, and emotional intelligence of the person, that cause these reactions on people, but everything just boils down to one thing at the end of the day. You can never avoid decision-making. Even deciding on whether hit the snooze on the alarm, what to major in for college, what to have for breakfast, where to work in Paris, or which clothes wear.

The question you just have to ask is, “If others can do it, why can’t I?” Decision-making may be very difficult, especially when what you have to decide on is life-altering or has severe implications on your company’s operations, but it is inevitable that you are going to face it at any day. So why not master the art of decision-making rather than uselessly trying to avoid it? We’ve listed down five ways to help you improve these skills.

Don’t mix emotions with decisions

Whether we are aware or not, our emotions can easily take the wheel from our hands and blindly drive our lives into just anywhere. This is one huge reason why we cannot always let our hearts take the lead especially when we are deciding on things.

Take for example a time when everything you have been waiting for is finally coming to light. Your boss has finally noticed your hard work and ups you for promotion to that position that you have been vying for for forever. It leaves you feeling high and overly joyous. On your way from work you pass by a boutique that displays a dress you know would look great on you but would burn a huge hole in your pocket. But since you are in cloud 9 and you feel that you deserve this treat for all the hard work and the upcoming promotion. So you impulsively buy it without giving much thought about your skyrocketing credit card spending. Or because of a mad mood in the morning, you impulsively decide to make an employee pay for a  minute mistake you could have just left off the hook.

The examples are only minor instances that may not hugely impact your life or your company. However, those are classic examples why decisions based on emotions are poorly made. Deciding based on your feeling is a sure ingredient to make horrible and regretful decisions. You may not feel it at the moment you made the decision but it will take its toll in the long run.

Before making a decision, distance yourself from any emotion you are feeling at the moment. Base your decision on important facts and figures that have direct link to that decision. If you cannot do that, take a coffee break or a short walk outside your office to breathe in fresh air to help clear your mind off.

Rid yourself of confirmation bias

In psychology, confirmation bias is defined as a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or under weigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.

It may sound crazy but all of us have fallen into that at one point or two in our lives, as it is a human characteristic. We are not comfortable when own beliefs are being questioned, especially by someone new to us.

However, to make a neutral decision, you have to to be clear of any bias. And the only way to do that is to have an open mind on things that may conflict with your own beliefs, but will bring good to the majority of the people around you or for the company.

Determine the significance

Often times, we allow our minds to mull over things that do not really weigh so much. Like taking forever to decide which clothes to wear for a simple dinner out, or whether to buy this or that for someone.

To determine the significance of the matter, ask yourself how much the decision will impact your life or work. Or how much this decision will cost you.

You can then set a deadline for yourself to finally make the decision you need for that matter.

Go back to the basics

Listing down the Pros and Cons is the most basic part in helping anyone make a better decision.

Although getting a well-informed opinion from someone who knows much about the matter can create a big difference, you will still need to weigh the positive and the negative outcomes your decision may bring.

You can include in your list the expectations you will have for whatever you finally decide on, and where this decision will take you in the next five years of your life.

Move on from a mistake

A mistake from the past may hinder you from being able to make a clearer, apprehension-less, decision. You may have decided on something that resulted in something traumatic in the past that is blurring your vision now.

It is normal to feel like that, and no one would ever want to make the same mistake twice.

However, what is more important is that you take the lessons from that mistake and make sure that you actually learn from them.

Remembering our mistakes may make us cringe, but being able to learn from them can make us better at making decisions. We come to understand things better and mistakes also give us a new and better perspective on many things.

Being a wise decision-maker may not come naturally to everyone, and not all age-mature people are as decisive as experience might dictate. However, if you do the research and analyze your options for big decisions, you will be able to slowly improve your decision making skills over time.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick