The previous chapter outlined some of the benefits of critical thinking. With so many advantages, it would seem we should think critically all the time. Although critical thinking is always useful and can be applied everywhere, it's not practical to think this way all the time. It's not only about where you apply critical thinking but also about when you apply it.
A simple rule to determine whether you should employ critical thinking in a given situation is when the result of a problem, initiative, goal, or circumstance (a headscratcher) is substantial. In other words, use critical thinking when the outcome makes a significant difference in your business or personal situation.
For example, a casual e-mail about where to eat lunch usually isn't catastrophic if there's a miscommunication. However, a misunderstood e-mail about the requirements of a product, or about a customer issue, may have far-reaching ramifications. As a result, you might want to use a little critical thinking on the e-mail that describes a customer issue, as opposed to the e-mail about lunch.
The following are three lists of examples of where and when you might use critical thinking. The first list contains high-level business functions; the second, specific business issues or goals; and the third, day-to-day activities many use to achieve those business goals. Once you learn the critical thinking tools, you'll add to this list with areas specific to your job.
List 1: Business ...