I used to work in a credit acquisition department where we were making lending decisions for customers every day. The customer would send in an application, and we had to make a credit decision based on multiple factors like previous credit and financial history. Every effort was made to build consistency, but there were always situations when we would be on the fence due to the subjective nature of the job. Do we approve it, decline it, or ask for more information from the customer? The easy decision was to ask for more information, but even then, some information that came back still left us in the fog. Our job was to make sound decisions that didn’t put the bank at risk, but we still had regulations and certain internal deadlines that forced us to make some kind of determination. We called these final decisions endlines. We had to endline and stop waffling. Right or wrong, we had to make an educated and informed decision before the application was considered past due.
In your professional life, it’s important to realize that procrastination is not an option. There are decisions that have to be made. Effective today, you will learn to make endline decisions. You obviously want to gather important facts to make important decisions. However, there are some decisions that aren’t important. Certain emails may be sitting in your inbox that you’ve read twenty-five times in the hope that something can be done to deal with it. Have you engaged the right people, have you escalated the situation, have you gathered the right facts? In the touch-it-once mentality, leaving it in your inbox doesn’t solve the problem. A decision still needs to be made. Being decisive
and attacking problems head-on will always save you time and effort. If you’re in the habit of leaving items unattended because you find it difficult deciding what to do, now is the time to commit to changing that habit. An unofficial rule of thumb for me is to consider a maximum of five business days before simply making an endline decision—give or take, based on the circumstances. Even if you choose to delete it with no actions, you still have to make a decision. It’s been a week already! As long as you understand the ramifications of your decisions, you will
start to build the right habits and reduce the volume of these endline decisions significantly.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Down the Chute: A Toboggan Tale (children’s book)
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood