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How To Use A Decision Journal

A recent interview with author and Wall Street veteran Michael Mauboussin on the Farnam Street Blog addressed the topic of maintaining a decision journal as a way to evaluate and improve decision making. I’ve recently started journaling, but I’m still figuring out how to make it a productive exercise.

Steve Pavlina offers a very good breakdown in this post.

And here is Michael Mauboussin’s advice on Farnam Street:

“A decision journal is actually very simple to do in principle, but requires some discipline to maintain. The idea is whenever you are making a consequential decision, write down what you decided, why you decided as you did, what you expect to happen, and if you’re so inclined, how you feel mentally and physically. This need not take much time.

The value is that you document your thinking in real time and thus immunize yourself against hindsight bias—the pernicious tendency to think that you knew what was going to happen with more clarity than you actually did. The journal also allows you to audit your decision making process, looking for cases where you may have been right for the wrong reasons or wrong for the right reasons.”

For a great digital journal, I use and recommend the Day One iPhone app.

FULL INTERVIEW: Michael Mauboussin, Interview No. 4 – Farnam Street Blog

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