How To: A Pro and Con List

Have you ever had to make a really big decision? You know — the type of thing that will change your life forever! It can be totally nerve wracking, for sure.

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. Let’s say for instance you’re buying a house, you should really know everything about that property. From how much it costs to if there’s been any construction work done to it since it has been built. You’d need to know what the area is like and if it’s a good investment or not.

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.

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.

6 replies
  1. Zoe Helene
    Zoe Helene says:

    Paula–! You ROCK. This is the best blog. I haven’t visited in a while and am so happy to see all the great content. Wow. Have been thinking about you because I have some great new expert lists you might like to post. Love, Z

  2. steve
    steve says:

    Is there anyway you can make this list available as a pdf or word doc? Great tool for helping decide between close calls. We just moved from Portland, OR to Waco, TX and we are using these lists to narrow down where we will live. Thanks!

    • List Producer
      List Producer says:

      Hi Steve —

      Thanks for your comment! Pros and Cons lists are fabulous for decisions about moving! The one pictured here can be found at or in many stationery stores. If you can’t find it — you can simply make your own! I don’t have any pre-made up lists quite yet, but I’ll be sure to upload them if I do add them. Thanks so much for reading the blog. Good luck with your decision! -P


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