Alternatives to Common Bad Advice

Here's why you shouldn't sleep on it and what you can do instead.



If you’ve ever come to a colleague with a problem, he or she has likely told you to “sleep on it” or “go with you gut.” It’s easy enough advice, but it can also be ineffective. Forbes shares why these suggestions are not all that helpful and offers two better alternatives.

Suggestion One: Sleep On It

Taking time to sleep through the issue at hand will only make you feel more comfortable about the decision you were gravitating toward, whether it’s good or bad. Why? Forbes explains it’s because “when you sleep, your brain tries to make sense of the events of your life, with you as the hero.” Meaning, the brain will ignore conflicting details and offer a bias solution.

Instead, you should come up with three other solutions that may fix whatever issue you are dealing with. You’re likely to come up with something better if you allow yourself to think outside the box. If the problem affects multiple team members, ask them to share which of the three solutions they think are best, in writing. A majority of the time this leads to better decisions, Forbes says.

Suggestion Two: Go With Your Gut

If you allow yourself to “go with your gut,” you’re likely acting in haste and not weighing in enough on the possible approaches. Later on, you may find yourself trying to rationalize your choice to convince yourself that you made the right one.

Instead, you should create a checklist for each solution to help you evaluate the pros and cons. Spending 10 minutes on a checklist can save hours of backtracking or aimless discussion.

This isn’t to say these two pieces of advice are always bad. Learn when it’s suitable to go with these suggestions here.