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Making Decisions with a Spreadsheet

Decisions, decisions, decisions! There are always so many decisions to make each and every single day.

  • Which clothes will I wear?
  • What food will I eat?
  • What route will I take?
  • What tasks must I do?

Over and over again, we are faced with decision after decision. This isn’t too terribly bad until we finally come to those decisions that seem almost impossible to make.

Some Decisions Are Harder Than Others

It’s true that all of the choices we make day in and day out have their fair share of importance.

But those hard decisions.

Those seemingly impossible choices that will impact us long after they have been made.

It is those decisions that can steal all of our energy and take away too much of our time if we are not careful.

Not to worry, I have a fabulous tool in mind that can serve as a wonderful companion in times of tough decisions and seemingly impossible choices.

This tool is great and powerful (just like the Wizard of Oz), and its power is limited by nothing more than your own imagination.

This wonderful, fantastic, amazing tool that I speak of is nothing more than the whimsical versatile digital workbook known as a spreadsheet!

Decide With a Spreadsheet

A spreadsheet really can act as a fantastic companion when you are faced with a tough decision.

In fact, I will discuss five different decisions that you may face in the future to reveal just how a spreadsheet can make these decisions easier than ever before.

Whether you believe me or not, I insist you read on for I have wonderful examples to share. Either way, the choice is ultimately yours.

Example No. 1 – A Random Decision

Let’s say that you want to watch a movie. After all, movies are fun and exciting and can make for a wonderful evening!

The only problem is that you’ve got twenty awesome movies to pick from and no idea which one to go with.

A great solution to this problem could be to pull out your random selection spreadsheet.

Random Selection Layout

To make this random decision, all you would have to do is label your movies from 1 to 20 and then have the spreadsheet select the movie for you.

Your spreadsheet can generate a random number between 1 and 20, and you have your decision made!

Random Selection Formula

Example No. 2 – A Weighted Decision

Here’s a fun scenario – you are going to move across the country to your new dream home.

The only problem is that you have two choices that are seemingly perfect, and you have no idea which one to go with. What do you do?

My advice is that you set up a decision matrix in a spreadsheet.

To do this, you list your decisions side by side in two different columns.

Beginning the Weighted Decision Table

You now list out different categories that will pertain to both of the choices that you have placed on top. Make sure you put this list of categories to the left of your two choice columns like this.

Weighted Decision Table

You now have your matrix ready to go.

For each category, put a score from 1 to 10 for each of your choices. (10 being the best score and 1 being the worst).

Do this for all of your categories and add up the numbers for each column so that you end up with a total for each. The column (decision) that has the greatest total in the end is the one you should go with.

Final Weighted Decision

Your impossible decision doesn’t seem so impossible any more.

Example No. 3 – Majority Decision

So your spending time with your group of friends and no one can agree on where to go for dinner.

It’s been a point of conversation for the past 17 minutes, and you are ready to end the discussion and go get some food. What do you do?

You pull up your spreadsheet to determine the outcome by majority rule. Here’s how you do this.

You list all of your friends (and yourself) in the first column like this.

Friend List

You now write your dinner options on the top of the rest of the columns you will use. Your spreadsheet should now look like this.

Decision Matrix Outline

Now have each person rank each dinner option from 1 to however many options to have. 1 represents their top pick. 2 represents their next pick. So on and so forth.

Filled Out Decision Matrix

Finally, sum each column so that you end up with a total for each dinner option. The option that has the smallest total should be the one that will satisfy the most people to the maximum amount.

Completed Decision Matrix

Decision made!

Example No. 4 – Yes or No

Should I buy the new computer? Should I not buy the new computer? These are the questions that haunt the minds of modern men.

But seriously, these yes or no decisions can be really hard to make sometimes.

To make the whole process easier on yourself, I suggest making a pro and con list with your spreadsheet.

You can have your spreadsheet count up a total for you, and you can even add weights or values to each pro and con. Just enter in the good and consider the bad, and it won’t be long until you determine what or what not to do.

Pros vs Cons List

Example No. 5 – An Informed Decision

Alright! You decided to go ahead and buy the new computer. Your only problem – which one do you buy?

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point. The last thing you want to do is stuff a bunch of information, data, and facts into your head just so you can make another tough decision.

Instead of using your head, utilize your spreadsheet! Capitalize on your spreadsheet’s ability to hold, store, and organize data.

Use your head to do the research and collect the facts, then grab your workbook to get everything organized.

Stored Computer Information

Once you’ve got all of the information you need, you can capitalize on the power of spreadsheets to gain insight on all of your choices.

You can sort and filter down to just the options that satisfy your needs, and in the end, you can truly make the best informed decision.

Excel Workbook Slicers

When faced with an impossible decision, it can be difficult and stressful to finally make a choice. But if you keep your spreadsheet on hand, you really can make your decision that much easier and stress free.

Capitalize on the power of spreadsheets while you can. It is a wonderful decision you certainly won’t regret in the end.


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