How to Make Better Decisions with a Priority Framework

How to Make Better Decisions with a Priority Framework

Last week we looked at how to simplify your decision making. This week I want to talk briefly about how a priority framework can make decisions easier and better.

So what is a priority framework and how does it help?

A few months ago, I bought 3 pairs of high-end headphones (Audio Technica, Bose Clear and other ones) and tried playing the same song on all of them. They all sounded good. I played the same song for an hour. Definitely got tired of hearing “MMM-bop by Hanson” that many times!!

SHIT. How do I choose?

Steven, AppSumo’s design sumo, taught me how to...

Work backwards from a single priority to make THE decision. (click to tweet)

Steven did this by asking, “Which headphones are the most comfortable?”

Instead of considering ALL of the priorities, I considered just one priority. Steven helped me realize that comfort was priority #1. This made the decision a no-brainer.

It was extremely clear to choose Bose which are awesomely comfortable (and great at noise canceling for airplanes).

Problem, solved.

Most people default to money but it’s hardly ever that. To avoid this default, find priority #2 and reevaluate your options. If it’s moving to a new house/apartment, priority #2 might be your commute, distance from your friends/community, or more space.

Let’s rock.

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105 responses to “How to Make Better Decisions with a Priority Framework”

September 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Dilemma: to say something or not say out loud my thoughts:

1) Do I tell Noah that I'm waiting for his next decision-making-themed post, half patiently, half impatiently?

2) I don't want to seem pushy.

Working this backwards: the priority is "new post please!"

Hence, you know which one was picked 😉

September 7, 2013 at 11:01 am

One of my confusions right now is creatine or l-glutamine?

These are two supplements that help in muscle growth, even though the actions of each one are different.
So, I think I would try them both and see how they act. Based on a monthly log, I'll decide which one should I continue using.

Ashley P
September 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

Great post, I definitely believe that this is a good way for making decisions. Though I do think that some decisions require more than one priority to think about.

Rainer Proksch
September 5, 2013 at 4:25 am

While making decisions it is good to decide based on your priorities. If you want to decide on simple things like your dress or footwear, then the priority should definitely be given to comfort level. Even if it is a little costlier, if it is more comfortable than the cheaper one, you should go in for the costlier one. So in every decision in your life you should give prioritize things before making a decision.

September 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I recently bought a house and have been agonizing over what kind of a fence to put up (to replace the bland chain link fence). I seriously have bought 3 books and looked online at all kinds of venetian style fences. What is my #1 priority?

I want it to look cool, keep my dog fenced in, not break the bank (put a lot of savings into the down payment), easy enough to install myself.

To be honest, the #1 priority is keep the dog in the yard, which the chain link already does.... is my decision over? Just not build a fence at this time? That actually makes a lot of fiscal sense at the moment. Haha thanks noah, this was like therapy.

September 3, 2013 at 10:16 am

I am debating whether to take this Friday/Monday off or not. The priority is spending time with family so that would take me to choosing to take the day off. That made it easy. Thanks for the ideas.

September 3, 2013 at 6:54 am

Great post, Noah. So much easier than cost/benefit metrics and analysis paralysis. Simplify and conquer 🙂

September 2, 2013 at 12:57 am

I've desired to enter the world of internet marketing for a couple of years now. As a novice, I learned the hard way how this field is full of unscrupulous people. My original intent was to gain a renewed since of purpose after having to leave a job I loved of 30 years due to a rare illness. It was devastating to say the least.

I trusted naively a few well known gurus that I paid to coach and mentor me. To make a long story short, I did not receive the desired outcome. My situation is more unique than most of those seeking their coaching and mentoring, which they were well aware of. Needless to say, once again I found myself devastated and even more depressed.

My dilemma: I still have a desire to pursue internet marketing, and would need one-on-one coaching or within a very small group. My problem is fear...the fear I feel in being disappointed and taken advantage of...and the fear of wasting more $$s I may need down the road for medical care. I have good insurance but all treatments for my condition are experimental, because there is no known cure.

I miss working and learning new things but find it difficult to get out much. I want to feel alive again, and yet I still believe an online biz is a good fit. What should I do?

Yael Grauer
September 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

Well, mine's a bigger one than just one product...

The decision I'm struggling with is actually five zillion decisions while planning a wedding and figuring out which areas to prioritize.

Priority: We decided to make our priority "comfort"--and that has made the whole process SO much easier. What would feel the most comfortable--for us and for our guests as an overarching theme means... suits rather than tuxes. roasted chicken and potatoes over banquet food. etc. etc.

August 31, 2013 at 3:55 am

Leaving a high paying job as an investment banker to a business development manager in a start up. Toughest decision of my life. People were laughing at my decision mainly because of my paycut.

Priority number 1: How happy I am while at work and how much of a contribution I can make wtih in the firm.

Outcome: IMHO, the priority number 1 above helped me to make the right decision. How I know?

1. I wake up happier .
2. I go back home feeling fulfilled of the contribution I have made.
3. My move from the investment banking world to startup and my fresh ideas from the financial industry has created a buzz around me that people are now paying me to do consultancy job to startups. (Guess what - I am not making more than what I was making previously. Win!).

Anyway, thanks for the awesome posts Noah.

SK from Malaysia.

August 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Struggling with job direction decisions.

Michael McGreal
August 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

My current problem is deciding where to live.

Most of my business is in the Midwest, but I love Colorado.

My girlfriend is also in Colorado.

My business is very mobile so I can definitely operate most of it via Skype then travel to the Midwest a couple times per month.

Colorado would be more expensive because of all the airline tickets back and forth, but it will make my personal life better- which in turn will help my business. It also gives me inspiration for other business's which is my real passion.

If I stay in Missouri I will probably get burned out again. I have worked harder than everyone around me for the past year so I could live this lifestyle.

Therefore since starting and having more streams of income on the way I think my main priority is happiness. When I am
happy my idea flow goes into overdrive and I am much better to work with.

Thank you for giving me a reason to think through this decision Noah!

Rick Henry
August 30, 2013 at 8:14 am

At the company I work for there is an increasing interest in purchasing a Business Intelligence software package. After hundreds of email and dozens of hours in meetings we are no closer to choosing a product to run a simple 30 day trial much less deciding which to purchase. (can you say analysis paralysis)

With no real deadline for a decision, Parkinson’s law is alive and well.

It's time to choose a system to test. Since we have no clue if we need all of the bells and whistles of the "enterprise level" systems, we should start by identifying a system that does the things we want from a BI package well, without worrying about the other "bells and whistles".

The second factor to narrow the field will be ease of use for our staff who are usually resistant to new tools. If we make it easy for them to use and are able to display data in useful ways, it stand a better chance of adoption and success.

Hopefully this will reduce our choices to enough that we can flip a coin to make the final decision. 😉

Thanks for the help Noah!

Lisa Marie
August 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I have myself on a slightly "unfun" budget while I get some projects off the ground - hell yeah to the last part of that!
My daughter wants to go to Vegas for her upcoming 21st birthday (who "doesn't want that?) as well as a Nikon camera. Both are costly to me at the moment so I can only give her one of these things - but the camera is less money.
I've struggled with the decision for two weeks now to the point of paralysis, but after your rad post, I took money out of equation.
I can get her a camera any day of the month - or the following month if need be....but her 21st birthday comes ONCE. Visiting Vegas two weeks after the day that is listed on her ID that she so desparately wants to flash - NOT AS COOL.
Problem solved
*Bonus: There's an awesome taco place on north Las Vegas Vegas Blvd. We'll be thinking of ya!

August 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Just wanted to say we have been looking at houses and asked the wife to define a #1 priority. It was so nice. Now we have a defined criteria to base our search on. Thanks!

Kevin Miller
August 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I am struggling to decide what idea I want to work on at the moment. I have a long list of ideas, with little implementation.

Priority number uno is to mastermind with a trusted advisor on what to tackle first.

August 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I need to buy a bike

Priority one is comfort.

August 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

I'm now struggling to decide whether I will write a complicated post full of crap about myself of how great I am OR if I just write what I'm thinking about a lot of answers I just read.

Priority #1: Be honest and feel happy.

And I just did that 🙂

August 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

My decision is what dresser should my wife and I choose for our baby room.
Me: Priority #1 - "Which dresser cost the least and gets me home to watch college game day"
Wife: Priority #1 - Choose the "perfect" dresser or all hell will break loose.

I have sent my wife a copy of "How to Simplify Your Decision Making" pt. 1

Alex Davis
August 29, 2013 at 8:22 am

Establishing priorities is essential to me. In shopping, you ask yourself what the must-have feature is... and go from there.

I recently bought a sub-compact car. As contradictory as it may as it may sound for a sub-compact, my priority was storage and convenience. ( I have a dog and do lot's of sports) Going through the list, I eliminated all except the Honda Fit. I've never had a car with this much storage and convenience and yet it's a sub-compact.

In management and programming, you manage your backlog in a similar way. Prioritize based on the more important goals to achieve. What can you do without? What is a must have? What will bring you to your goals?

Matt Henn
August 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

I got a kick out of reading this post because before I read it I literally was trying to choose between two different options of mine.

So I get let go in December (stoked) and I have chosen to go traveling for several months. My options are either start in Morocco and work my way up through Europe and the Mediterranean OR start in New Zealand and work my way through the Pacific Islands ending in Bali or something like that. (Tough life, I know)

For me weather is the biggest priority. Europe sounds awesome but not in their winter. Bali also sounds awesome and the weather is gonna be tits! And petting a baby tiger would be sick too!

NZ and Bali here I come!

Paul @ Padorec
August 29, 2013 at 7:04 am

I'm currently stuck on which of my businesses I'd like to push forward with. I have a few streams that are small, but I feel they could all be bigger. Trying to decide which to focus on is a tough call!

Matt E
August 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

I'm trying to decide whether to keep trying to build my current business or to abandon it in favor of one or more other options. Priority one is debt reduction so that I can pick without all the baggage of years of poor revenue weighing over me.

August 29, 2013 at 3:26 am

What should I major in:

1. Industrial Design
2. Sculpture
3. Painting
4. Film, Animation and Video

#1 priority: I have no idea - there are the artistic and intellectual ideas I want to explore and the various impacts I want to have. However, my priority #1 right now is my uncertainty, which has lead me to choose industrial design since it's a broad and widely applicable field. But this doesn't feel satisfying - is there a better way?

How do you choose more central, higher order priorities from which decision-making can flow in a more general sense?

Kerrison Garcia
August 29, 2013 at 3:06 am

Decision: Choosing a University course.

Priority #1: What I would enjoy doing most (instead of what others expect of me).

August 29, 2013 at 1:13 am

My problem is choosing the right tennis instructor to fine-tune my game so that I do better in tournaments.
At first my priority was price, but then I realized that I should choose the instructor who understands my game the best and identifies the right aspects of my game that need improving.
The change in priorities was reaffirmed after reading your post.

So, I've decided to go through an evaluation process where I work with each instructor for 2-3 classes before picking one.


August 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I'm considering whether or not to continue with one of my two current projects.

#1 priority is how much I enjoy my work days

... typing this out makes my decision really clear, thanks 🙂

Ash Bloom
August 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

1) Work on business consulting / practical business education workshops with crazy intelligent and progressive dude in Utah - meet all his people from a lifetime of doing business - great crowd from those I've met so far.
2) Learn Reiki (getting attuned this week), massage therapy and other modalities that really interest me, open up shop and build the best holistic institute in the world, bringing together a broad range of healers, therapists and medical professionals.
3) Knuckle down learning to code for 3-6 months and start implementing ideas I've had for a while that haven't been done well yet.

Priority #1: Maximum growth and depth of life experience.

On reflection I can probably do 2 of 3 at a time. Maybe 2 & 3 with a connection maintained with 1 from afar. Shit, did I just solve my own problem?

Faris Sheikh
August 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I'm considering which new car speakers to buy.

So I went to Best Buy and tried out their awesome selection of speakers on the wall. Plugged in my phone, and bumped some music.

I couldn't choose between two. Then what did I do?

Forget about the brand, and the technical specs, I just started zoning out and listening to what sounded the BEST. That's how I chose. The music playback was my #1 priority.

Now I'm chillin at home, I brought back some awesome Sony 3-Way speakers for my car 🙂

August 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Got accepted to jobs in Hawaii or Costa Rica. Both sound equally good. My Spanish is already fluent so CR will not have any language barrier. I would need a car in Hawaii... And less hrs to work. But I will have more networking opportunity in Hawaii. I think I'll just put two on the dart board and let the dart decide my fate.... 😉

Luke Freeman
August 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I'm struggling to decide how to split my time and money between various charitable causes. The first priority is having the most impact but that is impossible to accurately judge and requires a lot of information to guesstimate.

August 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I am deciding whether to see 'Wolverine' or 'Now You See Me' tonight at the cinema.
Priority #1:keep girlfriend happy (she would rather see 'Now You See Me')
#2: entertainment (i have a better track record at picking movies and I own the movie voucher valid for tonight only)

Hmm. I actually just made the decision, as #1 is to keep gf happy.
Thanks OkDork

August 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Decision: Leave job or stick it out and hope things improve?
Priority: Which one will make me smile when I wake up in the morning?

Pretty sure I know the answer, but follow up question becomes:
Leave job now or wait to have something else lined up?
Priority: ... still figuring that one out? Suggestions welcomed!

August 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

The decision I'm struggling with is signing a record deal or taking 18 months to solidify the foundations i have for a social media/app business . I've always had a huge passion for both business and music. I've always been playing around with music and finally broke through and got in touch with the right people at a major label who are interested in me. The crazy thing is right around the same time i came up with a brilliant idea for a business. I know there are plenty of artists who also have business ventures but I don't want my music identity to interfere with business. I feel like I have to choose between two worlds that I've always loved but I honestly feel more drawn to business and materializing the application. I know both the music and tech world are similarly saturated but, I feel my app gives me more of a challenge and much more satisfaction if it breaks through.

Hoo Kang
August 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

My current decision is to trying to figure out what exactly is my unique ability. This is a concept by Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach.

I don't know what I am talented at, so I keep bouncing around from one fancy toy to another.

The #1 priority should be me making the decision to sit still and think about it instead of running away from it. I want the comfort of knowing I will make the right choice.

Thanks Noah.

Elle Diputs
August 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

New job or current job....

New job pays lots more money and gets more experience in logistics in a large corporation. Brush up on my skills and b involved in analytics. 9-5ish plus travel.

Current job...flexible hours...low pay...exposure to customer feed back and direct contact with customers in retail industry. Allows more time to work on my business and retain feedback from customers on a similar level to who my business will cater to....ready to wear/shoe shoppers.

Looks like current job wins. Looking at long term payoff.

Pete Abilla
August 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Whether I should be a full time employee or a full time employer. Priority #1 is meeting the financial needs of my family in the short and medium term.

August 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Something I've been struggling with for my business: Go for volume at lower margins or increase prices and go premium.

Either way priority numero uno is make make money money. And in both cases I'll still need more sales so that's the decision: sell sell sell!

Jason Croft
August 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Today's decision: tacos or tacos?

Oh wait. That's an easy one...

Chanelle Henry
August 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Right now, after my relationship ended and moving back in with my grandmother for a moment, I'm trying to decide where to go next. For the first time I feel aimless even though everything is on a pretty good track (I have a startup in an accelerator, I have a great job, and great friends).

I feel like I have narrowed it down to a few cities, but the choice is either Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York or somewhere completely bizarre like New Zealand (clearly I know which one will probably leave this list).

My number one priority is just ease of life and peace... I think I've made my decision.

Michael Young
August 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I'm slowly clawing uphill at a major decision:

I can't work for the man anymore. It's killing me. I'm tired of being away from my family and I don't really play well with others. Especially when most of the people above me on the food chain are knuckleheads.

I owned a few restaurants and that's a sob story for a later time. I want to get back out on my own and I have narrowed down two businesses to start.

One is more capital intensive (but not extravagant) and more in my niche. It might take longer to build but seems to have longer legs and also will allow me develop a brand and get into other spaces in the same industry.

The other is a bit cheaper, not terribly exciting but could make some good money and be an easy win, plus giving me some capital to move forward with plan 1.

Just reading this post I eliminated the commonalities and asked "what do I want to see myself doing in 6 months." Now I have my answer.

Mahalo for all the good work Noah. You kick ass!

August 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Should I upgrade from my iPhone 4S in a few weeks or get a MacBook Pro? I switched from AT&T to verizon less than a year ago and am in a 2 year contract so I have to pay full price. I have a 3 year old dell laptop currently and have been really wanting my first Mac, the cost has been holding me back. I do equal amounts of work on both my iphone and laptop. #1 priority is speed and efficiency. I have heard noah and Neville say in past videos getting a MacBook Pro is a no brainer but I am either giving apple $600 next month or 4x that for a new laptop. help!

August 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Decision I am struggling with is whether to continue to base myself in Ireland in hope that I will find a job as a dietitian soon within a hospital setting, or to take a giant step of setting up my own practice and hope to raise enough money to move to a city with more opportunities ( and better tacos 🙂 )

#1 priority: the most fulfilling career path that will allow me to expand and grow in my field of work, and provide an amazing life!!!

PS.PLEASE give me Bose head phones ( because I need them in my life) ...and I will tell you my favourite joke in return!!! 🙂

Aleksander Tsatskin
August 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

My current decisions is on whether I should buy a new phone or a new screen for my cracked case. Both are around the same price, but I would have to pay for a fee for because I am still in contract. The phone is slowly dying though.

My number one priority is long lasting battery life.

Sukhneet Singh
August 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Deciding between doing multi-level marketing or not.

Priority #1 is money (so go for it).

Priority #2 is spending time on things that produce real-lasting value to myself and those I care about.

Encouraging people I care about to buy things just so they (and I) can make more $ is not up my alley.

So, pass on that one, focus on making things people want.

August 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I've actually been trying to decide on a new set of headphones. I've had a hard time identifying what my top priority is. I want something comfortable and durable, but also something that I can move around in (for working out).

I guess if I had to decide on one thing.... SWEAT RESISTANCE

Michael Stark
August 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Right at this moment I'm struggling to decide if I should get out of my warm bed into a cold house?
Priority 1 is definitely comfort so I'm stayin here or another half an hour ????!!

Nick Davis
August 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Funnily enough I've been trying to decide between which set of headphones I should get FOREVER as of now I'm still using these crappy old ones because I just cannot decide (I know, first world problems right but still it's annoying...).

Most of the time I'm fine on decision making but every so often I get stuck in a loop.

So my thing I've been struggling with... (apart from headphones). It sounds silly but I got completely stuck since yesterday on which way to code a few lines of code for a website I'm working on. It might sound small but it kind of affects the whole project and I got kind of obsessed about the best way of doing it. Priority Uno? - will the client care or notice? Actually for this probably not, in hindsight I was just being a perfectionist and there is no right or wrong way, it's not a quality thing but just a get it *&^*ing done' thing so that's what I've decided after reading this.

I also think less distractions would also help my decision making so if you want to send me the Bose noise cancelling headphones I'll let you know how I get on with those too 🙂

Big love

August 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I am struggling to finally decide on what service I want to offer customers to start my side business.

August 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

My priority clash is between commenting on Noah's posts to try and win some sweet new headphones (my 10 year old Senny's are dying) or to actually work!

But seriously: little tweaks to do with trying to get more people in my email funnel or important strategic content fixes or new content for existing subscribers.

I am only one man!

If only I had some sweet cans to help me do all the work!


Dave M
August 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Big decision is picking which venture to jump into .... I do not have the bandwidth to do more than one while keeping my current full-time job, and I'm having trouble finding ideas (in the idea generation step of HTMYFD right now, so this could change). Site flipping, sales tax service idea, finding a way to coach full time, Amazon site, write an ebook. Paralysis by analysis.

Priority Uno is scary: Freedom. I've said before that I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I'm unable to work for other people any more, and not finding any satisfaction in it. But can't afford to stop until I build some momentum outside of it.

August 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Two promotion opportunities have come before me.
Option 1: high executive visibility, high pressure, environment of organized chaos (basically a 24/7 goat rodeo).
Option 2: Methodical managment of programs, ability to build my own programs from the ground up, but a little less visibility.

Priority 1: work life balance
Priority 2: opportunity for advancement

Decision: Still having a tough call with this one, feel like I know option 2 is a better choice for achieving a work life balance, but also feel like it is the 'lazy way out', since I'm used to ALWAYS choosing the hardest path and giving my all.

August 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I have a busy family and my spouse and I are trying to decide whether or not to enrol one of the kids in a competitive sport. She says she wants to play but the time commitment is huge and both us and our daughter need to decide whether or not we're prepared for the commitment. Time is always a priority as anyone here can attest! How do you want to spend Your time?!

August 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Do I leve my job too study a better carrier.

Priority number 1; Getting good work

August 28, 2013 at 8:08 am

Decision: Do I move to Kaohsiung with a new teaching job?
Do I move to Taipei with a new teaching job?
Do I stay in Taoyuan with this terrible job?
Do I go home to find a new job and risk not having one?

Priority #1 - money
Priority #2 - having a good network of friends nearby/ alleviating guilt over money

Decision: Find a new job in the USA aggressively inasmuch as I can while I'm here. Specifically: network/ apply/ interview. Go home and get what I can get, and get a place with my homie, S. Build/ join a tribe, get my feet on the ground finally with automated saving and a path on a career and learning, working on a team, using my brain, increasing career and social capital...yes.

August 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

The decision: Do I stick to working from home? or buy a MacBook Pro so I can post up elsewhere?

Priority #1 = Where would I be more productive. (Hint: Not at home!)

Thanks Noah. You just just cost me about $1,500.

August 28, 2013 at 7:53 am

I just finished studying at a university in Israel. I now need to decide if I should move back home to South Africa or stay on in Israel.
Priority number 1; Getting good work/business experience

August 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

Choosing a college. On side I like psychology and would love to be able to help people... on the other side I like marketing.

Priority #1: making a stable income that supports my lifestyle
Priority #2: working in a nice environment
Priority #3: being able to start working for myself after a while

Marketing it is 😀

Sam M.
August 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

Stuck in decision making process about staying with current CPA or changing to new CPA...current CPA has been working with me for 6 years and made some mistakes recently. New CPA caught them during Bookkeeping upkeep, but I have a fierce sense of loyalty to my current CPA since he hung in with me when my business tool a massive downturn and few years back and I could not pay him his entire fee.

Joseph Putnam
August 28, 2013 at 7:39 am

I'm trying to decide whether or not to start a site that offers discounts to college students, and my priority numero uno is whether or not kids will sign up so I just need to go ahead and launch this thing.

Sebastian Strug
August 28, 2013 at 7:31 am

Been wanting to go skydiving for a long time, but kept being undecided between tandem or static-line skydiving, and where to do it based on how much it costs....

My number 1 priority is just to have fun. So I've just booked a session for tandem skydiving, after months of putting it off and deliberation. Can't wait!!!

August 28, 2013 at 7:25 am

I love Noah and App Sumo, and my decision actually has to do with HTMYFD.

I was debating whether or not I should join the course. I knew I really wanted to, but I really needed to sit down and decide what my number one priority is. Mine is my family.

In the end, I decided to wait and not join HTMYFD. Not because I didn't think it looks awesome (which it does). I decided that focusing on a major computer certification would be better in he short term for the long term of my family.

I still plan on joining HTMYFD in the future if it's still available. I knew that I would not be able to focus 100% on both endeavours though.

Thanks For Reading,

PS, if you haven't checked out Noah's video with Tim Ferriss, watch it right now. Watch Noah cut through BS and self doubt with direct questions and action. Fucking awesome!

Avi Siegal
August 28, 2013 at 7:06 am

I'm trying to decide if I should maintain my long list of extra-curriculars, the majority of which I enjoy, or whether I should instead turn my focus exclusively to just a few activities.

My priority is to be actively preparing myself for future success.

Tyler V
August 28, 2013 at 9:11 am

What does future success look like? If you can nail down what Priority #1 will be when you are successful, it will be easier to pick your focus now.

August 28, 2013 at 7:03 am

Trying to decide whether to move into the expensive city just for fun or stay in the cheaper and more convenient suburbs.
My priority is my personal happiness.

Juan Pablo
August 28, 2013 at 7:01 am

I had been struggling with making the decision between purchasing two different programs: "Mastering the Digital Highway" by Chris Brogan and "Make Your First Dollar".

Earlier this month I learned that both programs had a special price and decided that the time to buy was now, but which one?
The decision came down to price, more's payment structure. I chose the slightly higher priced (but lower monthly payments), "Make Your First Dollar", 12 month payment plan. It fits my budget perfectly.

Scott Friedman
August 28, 2013 at 6:52 am

This is what Steve Jobs called "the high order bit"...very few people really understand this. The best decisions happen when you simplify, simplify, simplify until you really know what the high order bit is. Jobs said something like "it's really hard, but when you get there you can move mountains"... Here is an example...what is the high order bit in tablet computer size...most people jabber on about it being screen resolution or processor speed. But the high order bit is whether you can hold it in one hand or need two hands. I'm guessing this explains how Apple went about releasing the Ipad and then the Ipad mini.

Gregg Hopfeldt
August 28, 2013 at 6:48 am

I'm not battling with any decisions at the moment, but I have a different approach when battling with a decision: Imagine yourself after you've made your decision and are busy taking your course of action, which path will you regret not having taken more. eg. You can have a Snickers or Mars. You choose the Snickers and after walking out the store wish you had the Mars. You should have bought the Snickers. So if you could have looked into the future and imagined yourself with the Mars you would have know then you should buy the I hope that makes sense.

Tyler V
August 28, 2013 at 9:13 am

Great method Gregg.

August 28, 2013 at 6:45 am

I was struggling finding a house to rent in Phoenix. I was swamped with dozens of good choices but nothing that stuck out as "the one."

I had a similar epiphany where I realized that I had to look at all of the specs and narrow it down to just 2-3 choices and then pick the one that was closest to a Park N Ride bus station for my commute AND was close to the 101 for my wife's commute.

After that it was clear that I had my decision. House picked! And moving into the house next week!

August 28, 2013 at 6:43 am

I actually used the previous post, the first in the decision making series, to try to talk my husband off of the ledge he so frequently visits since we bought land and try to decide what KIND of house to put on it. The problem lies in the fact that the priorities keep changing. We live in Vermont. Comfort is only a priority for the winter months, price is always a priority and of course aesthetic appeal is there, but a weak presence in the face of comfort and cost.

August 28, 2013 at 6:43 am

My tough decisions typically come from deciding what side projects to say no to. My current side project is a podcast interviewing entrepreneurs and startup founders here in my state.

My #1 priority is maximizing future opportunities and doors opened.

Allen Buck
August 28, 2013 at 6:40 am

I'm completely paralyzed about my new account creations for design and marketing projects. It seems like the funnel is too big and everyone stays at the top. It's exhausting and worse I have no idea which ideas suck and which actually work. Nobody ever tells me no or you suck in meetings, but they politely drag things out and avoid signing proposals. I feel like my indecisiveness is also in the same people I'm selling. Unless its an iPad or Coke they don't trust anyone anymore, and its really stressing me out. I don't buy into the statistics of just calling more people there has to be a better way to reach people.

August 28, 2013 at 6:38 am

I'm stumped; I can't think of a decision that I've got to make where I'm stuck. I am having issues with the followthrough of decisions (not smoking, working out, not drinking as much, overcoming a phobia of Hanson products), so that may be where my feet aren't moving. Rather, that is where my feet aren't moving.

Most of the examples I gave are related to self-esteem, and listening to Hanson makes me want to drink more.

However, I do need to take more time to do things for myself. I should take the literal steps to jog up and down my block. When I wake up, I should have a morning routine instead of stumbling into work with a silent prayer of hope that I didn't forget my deodorant again.

It seems that the reference to my intentions are cursory, but they are on a schedule where baby steps are being taken to get where I want to go. Notice that 'baby steps' was used - 'midget baby steps' would be like walking in quicksand. Add that to anything where MmmBop is a national anthem, and you've got an interesting combo punch of self-loathing.

August 28, 2013 at 6:34 am

Decision paralysis : Work at my current workplace ( huge and successful startup), with good opportunity to grow ( monetary and title ), but stagnant learning scope and little personal time.


Starting up.

What I would want ( most important first ) :
0. Hell lot of money.
1. Ability to travel to wherever I want, whenever I want.
2. Sharpen my knowledge in domains I am interested in : Technology and product development.

The reason for paralysis: My current job is not 'hell lot of pay' but definitely cushy.

Going by your principle, where we leave aside money, for the decision making process,
I think all factors go in the favor of starting up!
That helps making that choice a lot more easier 🙂

Kyle Ree
August 28, 2013 at 6:34 am

It was a decision I was struggling with but put in to practice exactly what you were talking about here.

I had a tough decision last week between starting a new job. I had 3 options on the table. One solid offer, another promising offer, and another one that had more interviews to go.

The one I wanted made me the offer and we negotiated to where I wanted it. But the other option was going to be twice as much money. I started to get enticed by more money, only to ask myself the question, "What is my motives or priority?" I knew it wasn't about the money but to go where I would be challenged and excited to go to work every day. I turned down the money and took the job that I was most excited about.

I start that new job today and I couldn't be more excited and happy with my decision.

Dave Schneider
August 28, 2013 at 6:28 am

I am struggling with dividing time between developing an app that I am passionate about, and see as a huge potential money maker but will not pay the bills now, and working for my clients which pays the bills but doesn't really give me any additional fulfillment.

Jonathon Seaborn
August 28, 2013 at 6:14 am

Right now I am struggling with the decision to join the National Guard as a Chaplin in order to pay off my $87,000 student loan bill.

There are other benefits as well (most importantly helping our soldiers) but I don't like the idea of being owned by the government.

August 28, 2013 at 6:12 am

I'm currently struggling with my internship, HTMMFD and learning guitar. What I am struggling with is finding the time and motivation in the day for all three.

My internship will always be priority number one and the others kind off fall in the back seat. Currently trying to manage the time remaining in the day after work to manage all three.

August 28, 2013 at 6:04 am

Derek Sivers has a great strategy. When deciding between projects, or things to do...ask yourself, "What are my HELL YEAHs?"

Saying "NO" to something, is also saying "YES" to something higher on your totem pole.

Right now, I am saying NO to being online and YES to a walk...Hell, yeah.

Jay Gensron
August 28, 2013 at 5:51 am

We are helping our customer - guys who hurt people - to pick a thing on wheels that's keeps THEM from getting hurt. You think picking out a new car is hard...shit, there are so many factors that have come up. But we have it knocked down to about 8 possible factors and a single ONE is stealing the show for selection. I work on the magic of 7 plus or minus 2 - any more or less categories can make it less useful. Thanks for your posts. Love EM!!

August 28, 2013 at 5:50 am

I'm struggling with decision, where direct my career. I'm now in very cozy environment, I'm editor, but without much perspective to future growth. I'm thinking about learning programming or be project manager maybe or start something on my own - start-up or some kind of bootstrapped venture.

I think my priority is... Learning. Gain new skills and experiences. But realizing this priority isn't so helpful. Maybe I have to reevaluate it once again.

Alek from Poland
August 28, 2013 at 5:29 am

I have t-shirt online store for anime fans. Store is doing ok. I wonder whether it's harder to promote and make more profit on the store or deal with some new additional business.

Numero uno: profit


August 28, 2013 at 5:20 am

Whether or not I should work on my website this Labor Day weekend, or take a mini vacation and go fishing....

August 28, 2013 at 5:19 am

Great concept. Backward thinking out of single priority is something that I've started implementing naturally on my job.

I'm an operations manager in a construction company.I oversee 62 people who hardly speaks English and I have obvious difficulties connecting those people with the clients.

I was struggling and I'm struggling now with decisions which should be fast and critical. I have 14-18 construction projects going on a same time. I'm always on a phone working 10-11 hours a day.

BUT! In that unstoppable environment there is no window to outside world of opportunities EXCEPT Noah's blog! It's strange but some of Noah's post's thoughts I'm trying to implement to my job. And it works.

(there are several more windows but the previous phrase wouldn't be so strong if I said differently:)

August 28, 2013 at 5:16 am

I'm taking the earn your first dollar course and I am currently struggling with the decision of which business ideas I should choose to test. Priority one is if it will allow me both mobility and a rather flexible schedule since I am obliged because of family reasons to not reside in any one place, but rather seemingly randomly, move about quite a bit among several locations.

Karim Boubker
August 28, 2013 at 5:14 am

Honestly, right know I a freaking struggling with the decision to either give up on a dying project or to start a new one all together. Sure, there's an emotional attachment with this project (as it has already made me some money + I spent a few months working on it) - but there is no vision for it, you know?

It's not the type of business I would be proud to tell the world about, heck - my wife is the only one who knows about it!

I guess priority numero uno is to quit thinking about the short term and to ponder on how this decision will affect me in the long-term.

What do I want to be remembered as?

What do I want my legacy to be?

How will my decision to give up on my first baby affect that?


August 28, 2013 at 5:12 am

Choosing a career path in the face of tuition needing to be paid.
Priority #1: Finding fulfillment through using my gifts.

Erik Contzius
August 28, 2013 at 5:07 am

Cognitive dissonance is a real bear. I love the clarity with which you and your friend deal with it.

Speaking of headphones, one pair I love is a JVC noise canceling pair. They are pretty comfortable, but the real selling point: a removable 1/8 audio cable! So often, the most fragile part of headphones--that darn skinny cable--is the thing that gets damaged making the whole broken. With my JVC's, if the cable breaks, I just go to radio shack and get another.

But the bose are super sweet!

August 28, 2013 at 5:04 am

Whether to remain in a cushy 70k job I dont like, where I am growing less healthy and less alive each day, or strike out and do conversion rate consulting and daytrading and live off unstable but potentially scalable money.

My priority was money, because I have 75k student loans. Now I think I value health and scalability of income. I want to get more healthy in some small way each day, not less. In this respect5, current lifestyle isnt working. I want to earn 20k per month. Now, I earn 5. I dont know how to rise from under 6 ranks above me, and earn 4x doin the same job.

Its terrifying to choose when you have ao muh debt still left to pay.

Also, I am extremely frugal, saving 90percent of takehome pay, so I could pay my loans in 9 months more, and I have 3 years of living expenses ready for my 'retirement'.

August 28, 2013 at 5:02 am

Going to a great music event tonight with a "friend"-potential for a little more. Decision What to wear? Sexy new dress or more kicked back casual (such a girl problem) Priority-Lookin great,turning his head.

Andrea Grassi
August 28, 2013 at 4:56 am

Great tips to make decisions!

It happened to me recently to be stuck while choosing an health supplement.

I couldn't come up with a solution because I never found the price/value I wanted.
It took time.

Looking back I realize that this time was almost wasted.

What am I deciding right now?
Whenever or not a supplement is worth the trouble in terms of monthly price/results.

So in the end the priority would be:
Did it have a demonstrable impact on my life?

Thank you for sharing this priority thing! 🙂
I love it!

Be well,

August 28, 2013 at 4:55 am

Whether to get a new phone or stay with my 3yo iPhone 🙂 Priority #1 is... I guess... being able to get the most out of my mobile experience? 🙂

August 28, 2013 at 4:54 am

Right now I am trying to decide if I should move out of my home office and rent space for my business. Priority number one is finding a location that is the right size (for growth) and that is centrally located to my clients.

David Heasman
August 28, 2013 at 2:35 am

Currently right now trying to decide whether to travel and negotiate to work on my MSc project remotely (I like German Beer) or whether to slum it out in expensive London for another year.

My priority is what would better allow me to work on my business?

Still don't know the answer to that one. Except that I've been in london as a student for the past 4 years, and haven't made any business progress. "the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result"

August 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

I struggle with every decision. I feel like since I've been a child, making any type of decision has been a difficult task. But I like this prioritizing. If I approach each situation as "What do I want to get out of this, really?", I think it will ease decision making immensely!

Lars Johansson
August 28, 2013 at 1:04 am

My big decision is what to do with my life (Specifically working life), and while I've completed 4 years of law school I've realised I my main priority is freedom, not money. So I refuse to work in law and instead will focus on my entrepreneurship.

Jay Soriano
August 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm

My fiancé has a few Swedish Fish (candy) in the pantry and I really want to eat it, but I don't want her mad at me. I suppose priority #1 would be to do what's in our best interests and eat as many as I can without her noticing 🙂

August 27, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I understand the concept of this post, but not the specific situation. Is the idea that Noah bought all three pairs of headphones, but he's going to return two pairs for a refund? Otherwise, there is no decision to make, unless it's which pair to wear, or bring on a trip?

August 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

When thinking of different ways to implement something or write something, I think:


Let's go paddle boarding.

August 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm

The decision I have been struggling with for the past week has been whether to fly to NY or drive there from TN. I have been going back and forth with the cost of flying versus the gas for driving up there. It would be considerably cheaper to drive but the drive is roughly 16 hours one way (32 hrs total)...gross!

Needless to say the cost of travel became trivial when I figured out I would spend 32 of the 72 hours driving. I originally thought my priority was saving money but that was quickly replaced by what would get me to the city the fastest and allow me to spend more time there.

My girlfriend and myself will be flying there in March. I've never been farther north than Kentucky.

August 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Great post. Struggling with law school vs. Slow start up. Priority one rought now is my degree so sticking with law for now.

Noah what about zero sum game decisions

August 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I am struggling with what platform to build my new site on. SquareSpace or WordPress.

Adam Cohen
August 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Choosing a designer for my iOS app.

#1 priority: How well do I get along with him/her. (Are they fun and enjoyable to speak to)

Tyler V
August 28, 2013 at 7:47 am

Great comment. I've found that to be the #1 issue in most consultant-type relationships.