This Is How The Most Decisive People Measure Time

First, figure out what type of decision maker you are.

First, figure out what type of decision maker you are. Pexels

This article originally appeared on Quora: How do decisive people think?

Different people make better decisions in different time scales. It is important for you to understand what time frame you have an advantage in and pick a profession accordingly.

For simplicity, there are three types of time scales:

  1. Micro-time
  2. Short-time
  3. Long-time

Micro-time means making decisions sub-second

Great athletes need to make lots of micro-second decisions. They usually cannot wait to to process all the information. They need to make very good decisions extremely quickly. Ultimately, a lot of their decision-making is pattern-matching and muscle memory. Athletes, soldiers, pilots, video-game players and many other professions need great micro-time skills.

Anyone who is really witty is great with micro-time. Great improvisation requires mastery of micro-time. If you are the type of person who is great with one-liners, you move in micro-time.

But if you’re like me and always come up with the super-great response an hour after it was needed, you likely are not great in micro-time. Micro-time is likely a skill one can develop, but there are no good trainings (other than pattern matching in a very narrow skill, like chess) that I know of to develop it.

Short-time means making decisions in minutes

Most CEOs are strongest in short-time decision-making. They are comfortable taking in the information and making decisions quickly … even if they are not the optimal decisions.

Making decisions in the one minute to one hour timespan is not easy … but it does give you some time to think and have a back-and-forth with your colleagues and trusted advisors. These thinkers also reserve the right to be wrong (and frequently are) and thus think they can adjust their decisions (even when that proves difficult to do because things are set in motion).

Long-time generally means making decisions in days to months

Big thinkers are usually in this category. So are academics and likely most people who have a PhD.

This involves taking in an immense amount of information from ton of different sources, processing it, and coming to a conclusion about a topic.

In my experience, people that fall into the long-time decision-making category often have the most profound conclusions … but also have a really hard time changing their mind when they are wrong (likely because of the sunk cost of the work that went into making the decisions in the first place).

Choosing a profession…and colleagues

Before choosing a profession, best to first figure out what type of decision maker you are. Then you should play to your strength. This is also true with allocating people on your team to the right role, etc.

Related links:

Who are the best thinkers in Silicon Valley?
As a CEO, do you prefer an arrogant high performer or a mediocre employee?
Do nice people win in the business world?

Auren Hoffman is the CEO of SafeGraph and a Quora contributor. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
This Is How The Most Decisive People Measure Time