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The 4 Step Process to Make More Effective Decisions Every Day



decision making

How many times have you been invited to a meeting without any clear purpose or direction? Maybe there’s a theme or a general topic of conversation, but there’s no specific meeting agenda and no definitive deadline for making a decision. These types of meetings are the worst, not only because they take valuable time away from productive tasks, but also because they make decision making harder.

Similarly, how many times have you been tasked with a project or asked to do something but were given little instruction on how to accomplish that task? You may have some idea of where to start to look for advice, but you are definitely not the most skilled person for the job, and you will lose a lot of time in the research and planning phase.

What if I told you that there was a straightforward process you could follow on a daily basis to help make more effective decisions more quickly and with less mental anguish? Well, there is. Thankfully, the skills required to plan effective meetings or develop project plans with little stress are very similar.

Here are four steps for streamlining the decision-making process in your own personal and working life:

1. Talk to the right people

Too often, people set up regular meetings for no other reason than to “touch base” or “catch up”. To cut out these unnecessary meetings, make sure you talk to the right people that will be the driving the decisions. If you speak with the right people and there still isn’t a clear reason for the meeting or event, cancel it or politely decline the invitation.

Similarly, if you are working on a project on your own or in a small team and you aren’t sure about the best course of action, make sure you speak with the right people that can help you with the process. This may mean pulling in an expert from outside, or someone from another department to lend a hand. Make sure that for every decision that is made there is one person that is ultimately responsible for the outcome of that decision.

“It is your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

2. Outline the key internal challenges, opportunities, risks, and rewards

Once you’ve spoken with the right people and identified a need for making a certain decision, take the time to review key challenges, opportunities, risks, and rewards associated with the decision. What are the biggest challenges to success and the largest opportunities for growth? If it is the wrong decision, what would be the potential fallout? If it is ultimately the right decision, what could be the reward?

3. Do your homework

Assess every angle of the situation. Not only do you have to identify key internal challenges, you must now think about how this decision could be affected by outside factors. What challenges might you face from competitors, from customers, from others in different departments within your company? Try to develop contingency plans and build those into your decision making so that nothing comes as a surprise.

Homework doesn’t have to take a long time, but it should be rigorous enough to allow you to understand what might happen if everything starts to go wrong. This will allow you to remain persistent despite the challenges you will undoubtedly face.

“A good decision is based on knowledge not in numbers.” – Plato

4. Own your decisions

Once you’ve had a chance to talk to the right people, outline key challenges, and do your homework, it’s decision making time. At this point, it’s imperative that you own the decisions you make and back them up with resolve and determination. The persistence you must follow through on your decisions will come from a deep understanding of the business problem that you have built during the Outline and Homework phase.

These two phases help you visualize the potential challenges you will face and understand the current context and environment you are now in. While this understanding is key to making effective decisions, this final stage, what is often referred to by U.S. Navy SEALS as “Extreme Ownership” is key to making tough decisions more easily and effectively. So, own your decisions wholeheartedly, and be willing to face the result (either good or bad) no matter what.

An easy way to remember this process is to think of the acronym “To Do”.

  • Talk to the right people.
  • Outline the key challenges.
  • Do your homework.
  • Own your decisions.

Human beings make thousands of conscious decisions a day. On top of that, we make just as many unconscious decisions about what we choose to do in the form of habits that have been built up and strengthened over time. Integrate these four steps to more effective decision making, and you will be well positioned to make better, smarter decisions on a regular basis.

What are some things you do to make better decisions? Comment below!

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 



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How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers



how to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog

Picking the right affiliate programs for your blog is really important. It can make a big difference in how much money you can make and how much your readers get out of your blog. With so many choices out there, deciding which ones to go with can be tricky. 

This guide is here to make it easier for you. It will give you clear steps and helpful tips to choose affiliate programs that fit well with what your blog is about, what your readers like, and what you stand for. 

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Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Before you start picking affiliate programs, it’s important to really understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works. 

Basically, affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service on your blog, and then you get paid a little bit every time someone buys something or does something because you recommended it. 

It’s great for both the person selling the product and the blogger, because the seller gets more sales with low risk, and the blogger can make money from their blog.

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

1. Assess Your Niche and Audience

The key to doing well in affiliate marketing starts with really knowing what your blog is about and who reads it. Consider the following:

  • Your blog’s content: What topics do you cover? Ensure the products or services you promote are relevant.
  • Your audience’s interests and needs: What solutions are they seeking? Choose affiliate programs that offer products or services that solve their problems or enhance their lives.

2. Research Potential Affiliate Programs

Once you know what your blog is about and what your readers want, start looking for affiliate programs. Choose ones that are well-known for good products, great customer service, and helpful support for affiliates. Resources to find these programs include:

  • Affiliate networks like ShareASale, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.
  • Direct searches for “[Your Niche] affiliate programs” in search engines.
  • Recommendations from other bloggers in your niche.

3. Evaluate the Commission Structure

The commission structure is a critical factor to consider. Look for programs that offer competitive rates that make your efforts worthwhile. Consider:

  • The percentage of commission per sale.
  • Whether the program offers a flat rate per action (e.g., per sign-up).
  • The cookie duration, which affects how long after a click you can earn commissions on sales.

4. Consider the Program’s Reputation and Sureness

Join affiliate programs with a solid reputation for quality and sureness. This not only ensures that you’re promoting good products but also that you’ll be paid on time. You can:

  • Read reviews from other affiliates.
  • Check the program’s history and background.
  • Look for any complaints or issues reported online.

5. Analyze the Support and Resources Offered

A good affiliate program gives you things like ads to use, training on their products, and helpful managers. Having access to these resources can really help you do a better job at promoting their products.

6. Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before signing up, thoroughly review the program’s terms and conditions. Pay close attention to:

  • Payment thresholds and methods.
  • Any restrictions on how you can promote their products.
  • The program’s policy on affiliate marketing on social media platforms.

7. Test the Product or Service

If possible, test the product or service before promoting it. This firsthand experience allows you to offer genuine charge and build trust with your audience.

8. Look for Recurring Commission Opportunities

Some affiliate programs pay you again and again for subscriptions or services that charge fees regularly. These can provide a more stable income compared to one-time sales commissions.

Implementing Your Choice

After choosing the best affiliate programs, the next step is to smoothly include your affiliate marketing in your content plan. This includes:

  • Creating valuable content that naturally incorporates affiliate links.
  • Disclosing your affiliate affairs transparently to maintain trust with your audience.
  • Tracking your results to understand what works best for your audience and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Picking the best affiliate programs for your blog involves careful planning, research, and making sure they match what your audience likes and needs. 

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers. 

The real key to doing well with affiliate marketing isn’t just about the products you talk about, but also how much your audience trusts and values your advice. 

With enough time, patience, and hard work, your blog can grow into a successful space that earns a good amount of affiliate money and helps your readers choose the right products.

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