One Piece at a Time

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Decisions, decisions. We make so many decisions each and every day that it’s easy to take them for granted.

What feels automatic or subconscious however is actually a series of choices we make, one after the other.

And then there are times where we are faced with a big challenge requiring a large number of decisions to be made. What often happens in these instances is that the magnitude of the problem we’re trying to solve overwhelms us, and stops us dead in our tracks. We don’t know where to begin, we seek the advice of our colleagues and staff or loved ones, we surf the web, among other activities. But even then, armed with information and insights, we still find ourselves unable to make progress.

My advice: start small. Break the complex problem down into a series of smaller problems that need solving. Make your first decision. Then another. And another. You get the point.

Remember to take breaks and step back to look at the whole picture. There is something called “decision fatigue” that occurs after a long session of decision making.

The point is that you want to build on each decision you make. Attempting to look at the problem in it’s entirety or even just looking at all of the smaller tasks and questions at once can paralyze the decision making process and stifle progress. By solving each smaller problem in order, you’ll gain confidence and momentum as you proceed. In the end, when you’ve put all the pieces of the puzzle together, you’ll have your solution.

Brandon Kienzle