LifeEditor is a non-rational, person-orientated decision making model. But I’m including here a short summary of a standard, rational decision-making model for your reference. You may find it helps you put the role of LifeEditor into perspective, or orientate yourself if you get a bit lost.

Rational decision-making generally takes four phases: plan, innovate, decide and implement.

The Planning phase involves defining what it is you want to change, why, and what your desired outcome is. Ask yourself what success would look like, so you can tell when you achieve it. You need to identify what is important to you in this choice. These are known as your criteria. You should categorise them as essential or desirable, and rank them in order of importance. It’s useful to explicitly express your values, and set overall goals and more specific measurable objectives. You also need to understand the information you will need to make your decision and where you will get it from.

The Innovate stage is about generating potential solutions. These may be solutions which have been applied to this or similar problems in the past; solutions which have worked elsewhere but could be applied in this context; or completely new ideas that have never been tried anywhere before. Brainstorming is a good way of generating lots of possible options for later evaluation against your criteria. You can consider combining parts of multiple options into a new idea.

The Decide phase then becomes a relatively simple process of assessing the best-looking potential solutions against your criteria. You can score them and weight the scores according to the prioritised criteria. At this stage you can add any risks or dependencies, and use them to adjust the score of each option. This will basically give each option a score and you pick the best (or couple of best to try).

The final stage, Implementation, often gets forgotten. It’s no use making a decision if you don’t do anything about it. So you should draw up an action plan, with timescales; identify the resources (like money) you will need, and any risks to watch out for. Keep track of your progress towards your desired outcome, ideally in a measurable way, so you can tell when you arrive at the desired outcome.