10 Hacks To Make Smarter Decisions Now

by Mar 15, 2022Start your business

For each hack,

  1. I define what is the hack
  2. then I give you instructions on how to implement it right away.

I hope you like it and this will serve you well for your business but also your personal life…

What is a decision?

I strongly believe that decision making is one of the most important thing in our lives. And it’s very important that we understand that everything we do daily, is the result of a decision we just made or we could have made a few years ago.

For example,

What you eat for breakfast is a choice. If it’s healthy or light or irregular or always the same; it’s your decision.

What you decide to work on today is going to be a decision you make.

What you will tell your friends, your parents or your colleagues about your personal life is also a choice.

We are the one deciding, but for some reasons, we never really question each decision on a daily basis. And some decisions are seemingly more important than others, but it doesn’t mean they work the same way.

Decision definition: A decision is “a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.” (Google)

So a decision is the result of an analysis you make. It’s a choice made after a reflexion. This is interesting because this means the decision process starts at the “analysis”…

And I would add to this definition that sometimes, the “consideration” has taken place a long time ago and we are making a lot of decisions today almost automatically based on analysis made a long time ago.

How the decision process works and how we could learn how to improve it and optimize it so it’s tailor-made to your own needs..?

And one other question we could answer in this book is to understand how to optimize your analysis skills in order to make smarter decisions? How to self-actualize your consideration process and how to keep the decision process as simple as possible?

About me (very briefly)

I will introduce myself at the end of this article so you can dive into the 10 hacks asap, but in short:

This article is coming from my personal productivity system.

My dream is to build an antifragile system and to help other entrepreneurs to do the same (I will explain what kind of antifragile system at the end of the article). And I’ve started by helping entrepreneurs as a coach and now as a Project Manager for a company in Saigon that provides ERP solutions [productivity apps for scaling and collaborating]).

I am helping entrepreneurs to better understand their business so they can make smarter decision and face any type of situations they are into now and in the future.

10 Hacks To Make Smarter Decisions Now

1. “Hell yes, or no.”

Or I remember it as the “hell-yes” technique. Here is how it works:

We are all busy… And we all don’t want to be busy. So by default, we need to eliminate the things we have on our plate. The best way I found to decide which option to choose is to follow my guts!

When we offer you Option A, how do you react? Is it “Hell, yeah! absolutely!” or is it a “Yes, sure, why not..” or a “no”?

If it’s “Hell yes!” then do it right away. Don’t wait and jump in!

If it’s a “why not” let the idea mature more; until it becomes a “hell yes”. If it’s “no” don’t do it.

This 4 words “Hell yes, or no” comes from a book called “Anything You Want” from Derek Sivers.

Call to Action:

Grab your agenda or to-do list of the week (assuming it contains all the meetings and things you have scheduled and that you are going to do thins week) and circle or mark in red the “hell yes”.

It should be pretty straight forward. These red circles should be at the center of your attention. Ensure that you devote your energy on these.

All the rest that is not a “hell-yes”; try your best to cancel them or if not possible: elminate, postpone, delegate, etc.

By the end of this week, evaluate how you feel. Have you had more free time for yourself? How did you enjoyed your “hell-yes”?


  • Learn to eliminate the “maybe” and the “no” from your agenda so you can focus on the “hell yes”.
  • Imagine yourself in a few months of practicing this, and only living “hell yes” moments, doing “hell yes” projects and working on “hell yes” ideas. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Let me tell you one thing: It is now fully possible.

2. Don’t fail, learn.

I like these 3 words because they imply that failure is a choice.

Don’t fail. Learn instead. Stop considering your failure as failures. Transform failures into learnings. These learnings are your experience. Your experience is your failures.

The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more your gain experience… and the more you have chances to take shortcuts and successfully manage all your projects.

From today, take the decision to stop failing and choose to learn instead.

Call to action:

If you want an example applied to my own experience, I can recommend you my article on “4 LESSONS OWNING A HOSTEL IN VIETNAM TAUGHT ME”

Now it’s your turn:

  1. List down 3 of your recent failures.
  2. Write how you failed and why you failed
  3. Next to it, write what did you learn in the process.
  4. Stop calling them failures. And next time you talk about these events, call them experiences and learnings.

3. Question your decisions to eliminate hesitation.

The decision process is not that complex:

Analysis → Decision → Action → Review → Repeat.

This means that a decision as the result of an analysis. This exercise is about questioning your Decision and your Analysis, before going into Action.

But are you sure of that Decision? Are you still hesitating?

Then maybe you need to question your decision.

For example:

I decided to write this free-ebook about “making passive income as a physical business owner” but there are thousands of other topics I could have wrote about and up until I answered all my questions, I could make that decision with peace of mind and confidence.

Here is two examples:

  • Why a free-ebook? Because I already write articles, but I want something a bit more structured and valuable for my audience who is interested in going further with my advice. I could have offered a checklist or a framework or else, but my audience is too broad for now to limit myself.
  • Why talking about “decisions”? Because I think if you want to become a successful and happy entrepreneur or project manager, you must learn how to take smarter decisions. I believe that the quality of your decisions highly impact your results and satisfaction. And finally, making decisions is the centerpiece of better understanding your business, becoming a great manager, being more confident, productive, less stressed, etc.

And with these two questions on my decision, this helped me to confirm that was the right thing to do.


This also can help you find better ideas or shift your projects to more fruitful trajectories… And if your team ask “why you made that shift” you have an already written answer.

It’s important to keep questioning your own questions until all these questions creates a series of reflexions that will help you decide.

I call this exercise “Questioning your questions”.

  1. Select a current project you are working on at the moment where you are hesitating between different options.
  2. Start a list of questions for these options and answer them;
    • why is it a great option?
    • why this option rather than the other?
    • why do you have to make that decision?
    • is there any other option? etc.
    • how have you selected your options?
    • How important is that decision? What makes it so important?
    • Do you have to decide now? When do you need to decide?
  3. Now, let’s assume that one option is your favorite:
    • Why did you made that decision?
    • What criterias was it based on?
    • Could you define better criterias?
    • why – why and more why: Simply write down your questions, and ask yourself “why do I ask myself these questions?”.

4. For scary decisions: fear setting

The fear setting is my favorite exercise when I manage my projects. Fear is a real thing. It’s a powerful engine for making people either moving faster or freezing projects completely. And we all have fears. No one is completely fearless…

Unless you do regular fear settings and get help for making crazy, sureal or scary decisions ;)!

What is a fear setting?

Tim Ferriss compares it with “Goal Setting” and say that we focus so much on tools that help us set goals, but we forget that “fears” also need to be addressed as they could be realistic and completely part of the decision making process.

His TED Talk explains perfectly how to make this excercise. Watch it here.

The 3 things I would add after practicing fear settings for many years:

  • You don’t have to finish the entire exercise to make a decision, sometimes, simply listing down all your fears about a decision is enough to realise you are not on the right path or the contrary.
  • The question is “What if I {insert your decision}?”. Use it for crazy decisions like “quitting your partner” or “moving to a foreign country” or “investing into a new project” or “become a parent”…
  • Save your fear settings together somewhere and take the time to review them yearly. This will help you visualize your progresses and understand that some fears are real and some others are just in your head.

5. Always save time for reviews

The first time a friend invited me to review my situation, I felt like I was back in school in front of a teacher who would evaluate and rate my performances. That was very uncomfortable and I wasn’t used to do it so it took a lot of time…

Now, after practicing the “review” almost daily, I am addicted to it. It helps me so much that I am not including it into all my projects.

What to review exactly:

  1. What happened: list down what you did, it’s a basic listing of factual events that happened.
  2. What did you learn.
  3. What to improve.
  4. What to eliminate.

Try to review your last week and your last project. And the idea is to then be able to plan the next steps more easily.

Going further:

  • Journaling: This will help you review what happened. When I journal (daily), I tell myself what I did today and write down a few things I want to remember for the next review. I personally practice weekly reviews and project reviews. Weekly reviews are for my personal and professional weeks. And project reviews are “per project” reviews for indepth reviews of a specific projects.
  • Find accountability partners: Go find 1 or 3 people you can trust and you know you can mutually help each other out to auto-coach you. Could be weekly or monthly, assesing what happened, etc.

6. Focus on today and tomorrow.

A rather new author I discovered because he is based in Saigon like me wrote a book called “The Fail Safe Solopreneur” and define the concept of “ideal day”. His name is Darren Joe.

And one part that caught my attention was about focusing on planning your ideal day rather than planning what you will become within the next 3 years.

I come from a business school where we teach us very “corporate stuff” such as making 3 years business plans for our projects and businesses. But over the years and especially when you live in Vietnam like me, you realise that the world is changing so fast and you might change so fast that thinking about 3 years from now is unrealistic.

I am not saying you shouldn’t do it; it’s important to visualize the future or try to guess… but when it comes down to your personal development and the organisation of your own projects, I prefer the approach from Darren Joe.

What he is helping you to do is to define your ideal day… And then do everything you can to transform it into a reality “tomorrow”. Plan your tomorrow like your ideal day instead of planning your next 3 years.

In terms of decision making this is hard-core efficient… I don’t know about you but realizing this makes me much more motivated because tomorrow is much more concrete. I can take my agenda and have almost 100% guarantee that what I plan for tomorrow will happen.

7. Shut the monkey mind

this is the part of the book where instead of adding up tools and techniques, we learn to eliminate to gain more clarity.

The monkey mind is that part of your mind that constantly jump around and distract you from the things you should be focusing on.

When you are an entrepreneur or a project manager, there are many decisions to make everyday, many problems to solve and many opportunities… it’s a jungle of ideas and options.

What I consider the monkey mind is the result of what makes you procrastinate and get you stuck on a project or ideas. Anytime you know you should be working on something but you don’t, etc.

In short, the monkey mind is the opposite of “smart decision” and the enemy of “focus”.

How to shut the monkey mind:

To make smart decision you need to have a clarity. If you mind is clustered with fears, distractions, worries or other thoughts… you cannot make a proper decision.

So instead of adding up, it’s time to eliminate.

The best way to calm your mind and realign yourself is to practice meditation. And I am not talking about becoming a monk who meditates 5 hours a day. You don’t have to..

Meditation start where you take 3 deep breath; in through the nose, out through the mouth.

But meditation, to me, is also when you take a 2 minutes walk around the corner of your office or house, breath some fresh air and let yourself focus on how your body feels, feel your feet on the ground, etc.

Another way to eliminate is to practice a regular physical activity; doesn’t have to be something highly intense, just a regular activity.

Personally, I started meditating in the morning, it’s a 5 to 15 minutes exercise and it goes well with physical activities. After that, I feel fresher, more motivated, resourceful and smiling… Needless to say this is a great way to approach the daily problems we face in business or in life…


  • Use meditation apps; Calm, Headspace, or free ones…
  • Find some short meditation videos on YouTube and save them as favorites
  • Simply sit on your chair and take 3 deep breath before starting a new task.

8. Align your decision with yourself and the reality

When I started my entrepreneurship journey, I was freshly gratuated. I was (maybe I am still…) what Vietnamese people call: “a young buffalo”. I guess the picture of a young buffalo running around is enough to understand what it means…

But I was all about experimenting life, making mistakes and discovering the business world. And a few things I was probably doing wrong was to resist to the reality.

By resisting to reality, I mean that sometimes, as a matter of fact, all the red-signals would be raised to tell me “not to do this” and I was not listening. I would be stubborn and so confident with myself that I would dare going against the reality.

And with my many attemps to resist to reality, I learned, eventually, that if you accept to let go something that resist you so hard, you allow yourself to encounter other opportunities: much more achievable, sometimes even more fruitful and satisfying.

Accepting reality, as it is. is part of the decision process that smart people have completely integrated in their day to day.


Brainstorm with yourself about what is your reality by answering this general question: “What are you resisting to currently?”

And to help you, you can pick-up some exercises below:

  • List down ideas you are refusing to admit to try.
  • List down the critics people made about your business that are bothering you.
  • Compare how you view your business compared to how your customer see it or your competitors see it.
  • List down your strengths versus your weaknesses.

⇒ You want to find questions that will help you take a rather objective picture of your business, your team and yourself.

⇒ You want to find things that are also part of the reality, but that you are resisting to, that you are refusing to put on the table and see as your reality.

All these things you’ve listed, it’s your reality. Take a look at it and try to tell yourself: “I accept this reality”. How do you feel now? What is going to be your next move?

9. How not to decide.

In your day to day, you will have many decisions to make… and for some reasons, you don’t have to make those decisions. Or you can reduce the burden and the difficulties behind that. Here is how:

  • Reduce the choice fatigue: there are a few things you can easily reduce such as the food you will eat everyday or the clothes to wear or, if it’s for work, the tasks you should work on today. these are decisions you need to make… or you could simply reduce the choice fatigue by removing the need to make the decision… For food: you could consider meal preparation or creating a food planning For clothes: you could buy clothes that match together easily or reduce your collection For tasks: think of planning your tasks the day before (from 3 to 6) so you don’t have to overthink it.
  • Use the eisenhower matrice and focus only on the urgent and important tasks.
  • Take some time for maturing the decision. Unless you are trying to stop a fire, there is usually no reason to rush into making a decision. And taking the time to make the decision can help. I usually make smarter decision after taking some time off for example.

10th Hack: Asking for help

Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. You could think that if you ask for help to the wrong people and in the wrong way. Here is my advice:

Here is how to ask for help:

  • For each of your projects, list down who can help you (the best is to do this at the beginning of the project).
    • Write down: who can help and how they can help. And whenever you need and are ready, find the time to ask these people the questions you have or ask for guidance or advice.
  • Ask your clients. But ask only simple questions that are easy to answer. And unless you have a huge audience, I would rather ask privately or via an emailing campaign rather than on social media. Social media is for your audience while emails are going directly to your clients.
    • You don’t know if you should focus on this product or another?
    • You wonder what people like the most about your brand?
    • You are making a new logo?
    • Asking your clients sometimes is a win-win because you can get real insights, engage with your clients and get even additional ideas and feedback.

For those fearing to get rejected because they asked for help:

You might have serious reasons to fear asking for help and the only best advice I have for you is to do a fear setting about “what if I ask for help for my project” (Cf. the fear setting part of this book).

And then, feel free to share with me the results and I can quickly guide you about what to do next if you want :).


“I read all your hacks, now what!?”

Thank you for reading until the end. My best hope is that you apply at least one of these hacks and feedback to me… I’d love to see them working for you! And if you do so, I will be willing and super cool to give you additional guidance in your decision making process.

About Me

Why I help people to make smarter decisions:

A lot of entrepreneurs and project managers around me came to the same conclusions: a wrong decision can cost a lot. And we all fear taking the wrong decision.

But another thing that I’ve noticed, is that we all end up eventually taking the wrong decisions. How many bad choices did you made in your entire life? Probably a lot. So it’s scary to live a life where you could fail at making the right decision for any decision you make.

So is it a game of “right versus wrong”? If so, it’s a game where you have 50% of chances to win, every single time you make a decision.

I refuse to play that game and I believe there are better ways to see how the decision making process works.

This article was an introduction to my perspectives on decision making:

  • Decisions are the results of an analysis. So I would recommend to question your analysis system if you face problems with your decisions.
  • Decisions made become actions. After you started a project and you realise you are on the wrong path… congratulations, you’ve started your analysis for your next decision: should you stop this project? continue but shift? etc.
  • Decisions can be automated. There are things in my day that I stopped “deciding”: for example, we have a sofware that sends us automatically what are the top-3 priority tasks we should work on today to solve customers’ problems. This one is complex, but on a more simple level; I’ve reduced the number of clothes I posess so every morning it takes me 3 seconds to decide what to wear.

Now, to answer “why I help people make smarter decisions”.

I would say that it’s because I’ve seen too many arguments between people about them being right and the other being wrong. If you look at the time wasted in arguing, the energy spent and the potential injuries these arguments can cause… this is a lot of junk.

And you can try to interfere and say something like: “We’re not here to discuss who is right or wrong but to solve the problem we have today”. Chances are the argument will stop and all the brain-power in the room might start working toward solving problems rather than arguing.

It’s not an easy task, but if I can help people spend more time solving their problems rather than arguing… I think it’s worth it.

What was I saying in the intro about “antifragile system”:

Since I started my career as an entrepreneur, coming from a business school, I was shaped as someone who had to become “indestructible” if I wanted to become happy or successful. The business world I was in was full of testosterone and violence and urgency.

But, after failing a few times and realising I’m actually getting more experienced, more confident and agile… I started to shift my goals toward more fullfilling goals. I wanted to “escape the 9 to 5 and live like the new rich” like Tim Ferriss in his 4HWW book. This phase of my career was the “become extraordinary” phase.

And today, with what happened to my business because of Covid and all the efforts I’ve had to make to transition and to become what I am today, I realized that I needed to become “antifragile”.

Antifragile is the title of a book from Nassim Nicholas Taleb that describe it as “Things That Gain From Disorder”

Fragile is like the glass of wine on your table near your cat… if the cat moves, the glass falls and breaks. The glass is fragile.

The contrary of fragile is robust or resistant or indestructible, like a spoon. If you leave your spoon on your table, you risk nothing with your cat around. If the spoon falls onto the ground, it’s not broken.

But if you put your spoon on the highway and let trucks drive on it… then the robust fork becomes fragile.

So we want to be able to survive your cat and the trucks in the highway. We don’t want to be indestructible but antifragile.

It’s a bit like the famous “be like water, my friend” from Bruce Lee. You want to fit any situation.

How can I help you, exactly..

Do you remember about the decision making process?

It goes like this: Analysis → Decision → Action → Review → Repeat.

If, at any stage of this process, you have a problem, then you can come to me and ask your questions.