SmarterStep by StepCatch Problems Early Grasp Issues Quickly

Take Action Decisively


2 minutes each week to help you execute on your goals

from Jean Moroney

Issue #69
I. Using “Decision Time” to Get Traction on a Project
II. Now Available: Smarter Starter Kit
III. Recent Posts on the Blog
I. Using “Decision Time” to Get Traction on a Project
Sometimes it’s hard to get traction on a new project. There are too many if’s and maybe’s and I don’t know’s. There’s no obvious place to start. When that’s the case, I recommend using Alan Lakein‘s technique, called “Decision Time.” He says:

Take a piece of paper and head it ‘I have decided.’ You are now ready for five minutes of Decision Time.

Record on paper whatever decisions come to your mind about the [project]. For instance: when to start it; what to do first; what to do next; how much time you can devote to it all together; what information you need; what equipment is required; who else will be involved. The more concrete decisions you can make, the more likely you’ll fix on some simple but valuable ways to start on the [project] and get involved.

There are two reasons this is so helpful.

First, making these judgments shifts your relationship to the project. When you’re focusing on what you don’t know, you’re in a reactive mode. When you start making decisions, you become pro-active and purposeful. That puts you into an action mindset.

Second, because the decisions are concrete, they trigger additional information. If you decide you need a particular piece of equipment, that will trigger what you know that equipment, who has it, and how you can get it. That’s why the more concrete decisions you can make, the more likely you can find some simple ways to get started.

For this tactic to work, you need to make decisions that might be “wrong.” For example, I decided to devote 30 minutes to editing this piece. It took closer to 50. Your decisions are based on your best judgment, but they are made in the face of unknowns. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them, or that they are “mistakes.” A decision that helps you identify a starting place and move into productive action is a good decision. As you take action, you learn what else you need to know to succeed on the project.

So, what project of yours needs 5 minutes of “Decision Time”?


II. Now Available: Smarter Starter Kit
Before you begin a project, there’s inertia to overcome. When a task or project is languishing, there’s a barrier to moving it forward.

The “Decision Time” tactic in this newsletter is just one way to create momentum. I have a whole set of reliable tactics to help you zero in on what’s stopping you, figure out the steps to take, and keep your motivation high. These tools help you find the action steps you can take now, that will help move this project to the done list.

A starter set of these tools is now available in my FREE Smarter Starter Kit. Read more and get the kit here:

III. Recent Posts on the Blog

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Thinking Directions


Jean Moroney

Jean Moroney

About Jean Moroney: Ms. Moroney, President of Thinking Directions, teaches managers, small business owners, and other professionals how to be smarter as they execute on their goals by catching problems early, grasping issues quickly, and taking action decisively. Ms. Moroney received a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and worked as a system engineer, project manager, and software consultant for 10 years. She has an MS in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon, and has been coaching and speaking on thinking skills since 1998. She has given her all- day flagship course, “Thinking Tactics” all over North America. Her corporate clients include Microsoft,, BB&T, and Canadian Bank Note Company. Thousands of people have benefited from her methods. Find out more at and sign up for her freebie class: Jump Start Your Project: