Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sleep on it

Someone asked one of my relatives for a favor that he wasn't sure he wanted to do. It wasn't something urgent, but instead of taking his time to think about it, my relative agreed on the spot to do the favor. A few hours later he was regretting his decision. I mentioned to the boys that I try to take my time and "sleep" on important or difficult decisions. But some people feel compeled to answer requests right away. One approach that often works for me is to take a tentative decision and see how I feel about it after a few hours. My gut usually gives me pretty good feedback, but it does need a bit of time to "react" to my decision.

This approach shouldn't be confused with dragging our feet or being indecisive. Additional days will rarely help, and we need to be sensitive to the timeframe of the specific matter and set clear expectations about when we will provide an answer. For example, sometimes someone asks me for something and he can't wait hours for an answer. But 10 minutes are not a problem. So I take the ten minutes to think about it or maybe discuss it briefly with someone else. I find this approach particularly helpful for phone calls: someone calls me with a tough request. I ask him if I can call him back in ten minutes with an answer, hang up and think about it without the pressure of having the phone to my ear.

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