As we’re battling a virus that scientists still don’t fully understand, watching the stock market sink, then soar, then sink again, and facing a contentious election, the future seems completely unpredictable (instead of merely as unpredictable as it has always been).

When we feel such heightened uncertainty, our decision-making processes can break down. We may become paralyzed and afraid to act, or we may act on the basis of bias, emotion, and intuition instead of logic and facts.Being aware of our uncertainty is a necessary precursor to managing it.

Effective awareness means pausing, taking a strategic stop, and assessing the situation and the unknowns. We’re now being confronted with data that looks actionable — even though logically, we know it’s incomplete and volatile. But even when knowledge is limited, we have tools to help us make decisions systematically and analytically.

Whether we’re assessing the meaning of the latest unemployment numbers or the impact of local romaine lettuce shortages, we can use a simple four-step process to work with and through ambiguity to make careful, reasoned decisions.