Most generation Y folks have grown up hearing how smart and talented we are, how the world is our oyster and we can do anything we put our mind to. Unfortunately, it is that same mind that freezes when faced with too may options.

By Ellen Ercolini (Founder, The Creative Giraffe)

Are your poor decision-making skills costing you money? Time is money, and the longer it takes you to make a decision, from the simple ‘should I order business cards’ to the complicated ‘should we go public’, the more money you leave on the table. For those of us who have started a company, who are working towards a hopeful big payday – this can add up.

We live in a world where we can do or be anything. This has created a phenomenon I like to call ‘options overwhelm’: there are so many ideas, concepts and projects to do, no one can decide where or how to start. Each idea opens up into a maze of more choices and options.

We become paralyzed when faced with potentially life changing choices. We don’t have a mechanism or a deeper understanding of how to make decisions. When called upon to do so, we lock up while we agonize over it – leaving hard earned money on the table.

Effective, quick decision making skills are imperative to good leadership and entrepreneurship. It’s not just simply the ability to say yes or no a la Anna Wintour, but to deeply understand the effects of your decisions, and how they can be leveraged to move your company forward.

What’s at stake?

What would happen if you go with choice a? What would happen if you don’t go with choice a. It’s important to look at the effects of both sides of the coin. What would happen if you decide to do something is just as important as what would happen if you decide not to do it. Remember there is not always a ‘d, none of the above’ answer available. Sometimes the right choice is something that hasn’t been thought of yet.

What do you need to let go of?

We have a limited capacity – even if we don’t want to admit it – we do. When we say yes to something, there needs to be a releasing of something else to make space for the yes to grow and thrive and be successful. I imagine holding a bunch of balloons. You can hold a lot, but you can’t hold all of them. When you’re at capacity, and you want to add a new balloon to your bouquet, you need to let one go. Perhaps it means delegating, or dropping a feature. We need to make room for the new by pruning the old.

What’s the big picture vision?

Does this action item move you closer or farther away? It seems a bit simplistic, but we’ve all been victims’ of mission drift before. If I can connect a decision-making outcome to the big why of my company (as in, why I founded it and why I want to change the world) I know I’m on the right track. If I can’t make a connection, it might not be the right fit for my company at this time.

If we can develop a better system for making decisions, we can make better decisions, faster. That means more time and money to spend building our empires, or relaxing on the beach. How will you decide to use your extra time and money?

Women 2.0 readers: How do you make decisions quickly? Share your experiences in the comments below!

About the guest blogger: Ellen Ercolini is Founder of The Creative Giraffe. She teaches generation Y how to make amazing decisions, fast. She believes that inspiration doesn’t mean anything without action attached to it. She loves working with entrepreneurs to sharpen their visions and deepen their impact in the world. Her naturally creative approach to life enables her to specialize in making the overwhelming become fun and attainable. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenErcolini.