Things like buying a house, changing jobs, having a child, planning your honeymoon, figuring out what outfit to wear are all big considerations and should be given some critical thought. Enter: the pro and con list.
Silly or serious – it serves a purpose. Here’s how to effectively make a pro and con list that will help you be less stressed and move closer to an answer quicker.
1. Paper or Digital? I’m a paper and pencil kind of girl but some of us are better at making digital lists. I find that if I like the paper I’m writing on then I’m more likely to sit down and make a pro and con list even if it’s a really difficult decision. I’ve done several on this fun pre-made pro and con list from KnockKnockStuff.com. But you can use plain paper and crease it down the middle and write “pro” and “con” on your own – the results are the same. Ditto for digital lists.
2. Start Listing: Whenever I make a pro and con list for the first time – I brainstorm and write down whatever comes to mind. Even if it seems like a minor detail – such as the office of a potential job is painted green and that’s your favorite color. Put it in the pro column – you can weed things out later. Put as few or as many pros and cons as you like.
3. Revise: Once you write down all your thoughts – go back through and delete points that either don’t matter or won’t help your decision. If the green office isn’t swaying your thought process either way – then get rid of it. Use this process to try and make your list digestible and helpful.
4. Sleep On It: After making a final list – put it away and rest your brain. It can be hard to think straight if you’ve been staring at something for a long time. Put it away and come back to it tomorrow. When you go back – you might look at your pros and cons list in a totally different light.
5. Talk It Out: If you’re having some trouble deciding… grab a friend, spouse or co-worker. Two minds are better than one. This person might even point out some benefits or disadvantages that you haven’t thought about.
6. Weigh Your Options: This doesn’t mean that just because you have five items in the pro column and only three in the con one that the pros win. Think about each option critically and envision what your life will be like if you had to deal with each one. Do some research if you need to or ask some questions. Remember what might not seem like a big deal to someone else – might be to you. Be realistic and true to yourself.