P-Squares Decision Process

Michel Bell developed the P-Squares Decision Process (P-Squares) as a systematic approach to examining options and a necessary precursor to decision-making Michel's premise was this: people fret about doing tasks and end up doing a poor job because worrying detracts from giving their best. Mostly, the P-Squares reminds us that we have a fixed available time (24-hours daily) in which we should do our best and accept and learn from the outcome. Essentially, identify the controllable in each situation and focus there.

P-Squares is a critical time management, more specifically, personal effectiveness tool stressing specific parameters, priorities, principles, and the process necessary to evaluate aspects of decisions before committing.

The P-Squares Decision Process' prime purpose is to facilitate effective execution of decisions. Specifically, P-Squares helps you focus on the important instead of the urgent to reduce daily stress and to let Jesus shine as you implement decisions. Further, P-Squares enables you to apply trustworthy principles to do each project at home, work or elsewhere, and so you will approach each with a positive attitude.

Before starting a project or a job, decide to use trustworthy principles, and God's priorities, to achieve its goals with available resources. You will gain confidence to carry it out. P-Squares helps you see the need to count the cost and consider the full implications of each project before commencing. Thus you will rarely over-commit to tasks. As well, you will mitigate or eliminate likely negative effects when you undertake each new activity with this attitude.

Develop the attitude to apply P-Squares before committing to decisions. Until you become comfortable with the process, note on a piece of paper, answers to relevant questions for each P-Squares' quadrant.


Here is a glimpse of Parameters, the first P-Squares' quadrant. Before you commit to decisions, reflect on these four critical factors below, and three other P-Squares' quadrants, Priorities, Principles, and the Process:

  1. Success:Your attitude decides success - Do your best, accept and learn from the results; there is no need to fret—you can't do better than your best.
  2. Work:Do your best and accept and learn from the results; there is no need to fret—you can't do better than your best.
  3. Time: Each of us has 24 hours daily—don't complain about insufficient time, accept available time.
  4. Today:Accept today as it is, not as you would like it to be—Don't procrastinate; seek assistance if you need help, but understand that procrastination won't help your task.

Before you agree to the task, accept these parameters. Once you plan to do your best, you will know in advance you will be successful. When I teach my courses, I explain these parameters to my students and tell them I know the course will be successful, because I am committed to teaching each student to the best of my ability. At the end of the semester when I get students' assessments of the course, I study them, and as needed, adjust for the next course. I can't do better than my best in preparation and execution. That's why I do not worry about the outcome, but concentrate on doing my best.

This approach shows success as input-driven, not as an output. And so, you start a job knowing you will succeed because you will do your best. Then, after each assignment, you review the results critically to see how you could have improved. Finally, you will take this learning to the next job and repeat the cycle. I repeat, this is an excellent effectiveness enhancing and stress relieving tool.


Having completed the parameters review, still, before accepting the task, evaluate your priorities. If we don't work with priorities, we will complain about insufficient time, which is never a factor. People will tell you to live a balanced life. But some things are more important than others. TYour family are more important than your work. Unbalance your life by deciding priorities in your life. As you evaluate this decision, the crucial question is this: How will taking on this task, making this decision affect my unbalanced life? Will it take me away from spending time with my family, and so on?


Michel developed these four principles that must be paramount as you carry out the assignment. These principles, the third P-Squares quadrant, emphasize values to guide you in your daily tasks. Reflect and assess this aspect before accepting a project or task, but most importantly, apply them each day to existing tasks.

If you choose to do the task, you must abide by them:

  1. Gas Principle
  2. Neighbor Principle
  3. Destination Principle
  4. Journey Principle

The GAS Principle  represents three key trustworthy truths to handle resources. It is the foundation for everything we do at Managing God's Money The essence of our mission; it's how we apply trustworthy stewardship of all resources.


The Neighbor Principle asserts, treat each person as you want each person to treat you. It doesn't matter who... the CEO, janitor, everyone.This is the only way to do the project. It is a reminder to apply compassion and love as we implement our goals. Don’t perform sub-optimally; on the contrary, behave as a good steward but recognize the human inputs to your performance.


Destination Principle: Consider the full implications of the project before accepting the assignment. Understand the extent of your commitments; you don't need to have solutions, merely appreciate full ramifications of your decision. You do not need to understand all details, but the big picture. Will I have to travel on weekends/Holidsys? Will I miss my daughter's upcoming graduation, and so on. After reflection and discussion with your spouse, you might accept even if it conflicts with other goals, but at least you considered the implications of aspcts of the journey.


The Journey Principle  supplements the destination principle. Having considered the full implications before committing to a task, we refect on skills, tools, and resources we might need along the way. Are they avaialable? will they become available in time to achieve the goal? What about relationships need to move the project along?

Only after you have been through P-Squares and understood the implications of taking on the project should you decide to accept or reject the job. Here is the likely results of applying applying P-Squares:

  1. You consider implications of achieving objectives with available resources, gain confidence on the journey, and raise the success probability.
  2. You develop and maintain a positive attitude as you perform each activity.
  3. You rarely overcommit to projects because you understand reasonably well, the full implications before starting.
  4. You reduce or eliminate likely adverse effects on relationships and existing projects when you undertake each new activity.
  5. You apply trustworthy principles and pracrices in each project.

PEACE Effectiveness Process

PLAN for a specific period to achieve specific goals

ESTIMATE and record costs and sacrifices needed to achieve the plan

ACT on the plan and record actual results as you progress toward those goals

COMPARE actual steps and sacrifices with the estimate as you progress towards those goals

EXECUTE behavior changes necessary to achieve those goals

The PEACE Effectiveness Process (PEACE) is the fourth and final quadrant of the P-Squares Decision Process: it is the tool to implement your projects, decisions, or activities to achieve specific goals. Before starting any project or activity, establish a goal, then apply PEACE. Many folks abandon their goals along the journey; they give up in frustration because they don’t invest time in PEACE.

PEACE applies to all persons and all aspects of life: Similar concepts pertain to students doing homework or working on special projects and executives implementing billion dollar contracts. The fundamental principle is to start with a goal (the destination) then move to a plan (steps to do the goal), count the cost of doing them, act, compare where you are, and execute changes as necessary. Most of all, be patient.

For more on the P-Squares, see Managing God's Time, chapters 8-12.