Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

Research Before You Buy

The constant decisions that you make in your life increase your stress. Within your organization, many of the decisions you face have to do with purchases of supplies or services. In many organizations, purchases go through an elaborate procedure to ensure that the selected vendor meets all the requirements set out by some specification sheet or a set of pre-determined guidelines.

From that standpoint, your ability to choose is made clearer, based on procedures. In smaller organizations, however, those procedures are often not well defined, or may not even exist.On an individual basis, people rarely follow any kind of procedural approach. Yet, when you seek a product or service, there will be more options than you can possibly entertain or understand, and it will be that way for the rest of your life.

What would it be like, the next time you’re considering a new HDTV, Smartphone, or another purchase, if you created your own spec sheet in advance, which you could hand to a vendor?

If you need to buy a piece of technology, but you’re concerned about something better coming out later, look to the future. Look for:
  • expandability,
  • portability, or
  • trade-in options.
Any time you make a purchase decision, there will soon be a better, faster, or more economical model. At some point, however, you’ve got to put your stake in the ground. That will ease some of the burden of choosing now. Moreover, if you create your own spec sheet in advance, you eliminate the clutter and lack of focus that results from vendors telling you about all of the other things that products do.

Vendors will always be introducing new features that you may not have considered; you may then end up with more items on your list. Afterwards, go back out for round two, and see who matches your “must-have” list best.

A Prepared Checklist

When you need to make purchase decisions, it’s advisable to have a good set of questions:
  • Making Better Purchase Decisions
  • Any quantity discounts?
  • Any corporate, government, association, military, and educators’ discounts?
  • Weekly, monthly, quarterly seasonal discounts?
  • Off-peak discounts, odd lot discounts?
  • Do they offer a guaranteed lowest price?
  • Accept major credit cards?
  • Accept orders online? e-mail?
  • Money-back guarantee, or other guarantee?
  • online?
  • Guaranteed shipping date?
  • How do they ship?
  • Toll-free customer service line?
  • Free delivery?
  • Free installation?
  • Will they keep my name off of their mailing list?
  • Do they intend to sell, rent, or otherwise use my name and ordering information?
  • Are their shipments insured?
  • Are there shipping and handling charges?
  • Are their prices guaranteed?
  • Is there tax?
  • Are there any other charges?
  • Do they have free samples?
  • Are authorized dealer/repair services in my area?
  • References available? Referral letters available?
  • Are there satisfied customers in my area?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Who are they owned by?
  • How long for delivery?
  • Is gift-wrapping available?
  • Does the product come with a warranty?
Often, you can choose a service provider without going through elaborate procedures, and you still turn out OK. When you’re dealing with a potential vendor, and you can talk to other satisfied customers in your local area, more than likely, things will turn out alright.

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 65 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 886 presentations to clients such as Lockheed Martin, Eckerd, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
  • Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, USA Today, Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website

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