Step Five – Evaluate Your Options

This step requires plenty of organization. Don’t try to do it in your head, you need to use some simple pen and paper tools to help you see and analyze the options. Here are the most effective and easiest to use decision making tools:

The Ben Franklin Ledger is the simplest and one of the most effective tools when used as Ben recommended. It is useful for making “Whether” type decisions where you are choosing to do something or not. Draw a line down a piece of paper dividing it in half and write “pro” on one side and “con” on the other. Next, over a period of several days list all of the pro and con points you can think of. Then, and this is the important part, estimate the weight of each item on a 1 to 10 scale. Look at the list and wherever you have a pro and a con of roughly equal weight, strike them both out. When you have finished the strikeouts what is left should guide you toward a decision.

The Modified Ben Franklin Ledger
allows you to compare the pros and cons of two separate options. However it is too unwieldy to use to compare more than two options. The Measured Criteria Table and Weighted Criteria Table work best for decisions with more than two options.The Measured Criteria Table is another simple tool that will help you compare any number of options. On a sheet of paper list down the left side the criteria factors that are important in making the decision. Then at the top across the paper list the options. In our example of Joe’s career decision he could list down the left side as criteria factors: income, stability, number of jobs, stress level, enjoyment, etc. Across the top he could list the professions of teacher, stockbroker and attorney. Joe would then score each profession on each criteria on a 1-10 or 1-100 scale. By adding up the scores he could compare the options and get an idea of which profession best suits his criteria.In a Weighted Criteria Table Joe could, in addition, weight each specific criterion as to how important it is to him compared to the other criteria. He might rate enjoyment as a 5 on a 10-point scale and lack of stress as an 3. Joe could then multiply each profession’s score for each criterion by its weight to obtain a weighted score. The benefit of the weighted criteria table is that the numerical scores more precisely reflect the value Joe places on each criterion. The result is more accurate than the simple Measured Criteria Table.

Sometimes the results obtained from the Weighted Criteria Table indicate a different decision than the one suggested by the Measured Criteria Table. Notice that with the Measured Criteria Table the occupation of Teacher seem to be the best choice. However, in the Weighted Criteria Table, Joe gave greater weight to income related criteria and the result points to Lawyer as the best choice. See the comparison in the link below. If possible, try to use the Weighted Criteria Table rather than the Measured Criteria Table in making an important decision. Joes Career Decision Tools Comparison