Analysis Paralysis is where you can’t make any forward progress because you bog yourself down in details, tweaking, brainstorming, research, and… anything but just getting on with it. Sound familiar?
It’s something I struggled with. Partly out of fear of failure, partly because I love the idea-generation phase of projects, mostly because I am an analysis geek on occasion.
There is hope though, even for chronic cases.
It’s not actually about setting your sights low, or dropping your personal standards. What you have to do is identify those things you have to get right from the get-go, those items that do need analysis, and what can be fixed later.
While it is perfectly natural to want to spend time thinking about a project, especially one with an element of risk, there comes a point where any more thinking is counter-productive and you need to start making some progress.
1. What do you absolutely have to do for the project to be a success?
2. What tasks can absolutely not be put off while later?
3. What are the most painful items to change post launch?
4. What could realistically go wrong?
With procrastination it always comes down to just doing it but discovering the reasons why you aren’t (other than being a lazy geek making excuses!) can be very helpful in getting your sorry behind working. Analysis Paralysis often comes from learned behavior over several years. Either it has proven beneficial, so you do a little more thinking and planning each time, or not enough planning has caused problems so each occasion you get a little more cautious.
It never fails to surprise me how different the world seems when my analysis faces reality. We all get some things right while other things seem to come from outer-space and no amount of thinking would have predicted it. Thinking on your feet is often as important as any amount of analysis.
You still need a plan no matter what, but this time round, over planning is not allowed. Think of what are the things that you need to know before you start and get a grasp of it. Brain storm for what would be the most painful thing to change and get more information and make a wiser decision. Be sure to know, what are the things that could possibly go wrong and try to prevent them. Be proactive rather than reactive.
Allocate a deadline for your planning session and be strict with yourself and only spend that certain amount of time for planning. When we have a specific time slot for planning, we will have a lesser tendency to over plan.
When you finished your planning session, stop asking yourself “what if” questions. Just start doing it and learn everything that you do not know along the way.
I know there is a Mr (or Ms) Perfection inside you and you want to get everything perfect on the get go but it is highly not possible that everything will turn out the way you want to be in the first place. Just forget about perfection and start taking action.
Once you start your project, do not stop and think too much again. Just have a list of to-do items, regardless whether it is big or small and keep on completing the task.
This is an important skill that can help to overcome analysis paralysis. By knowing how to make a faster and wiser decision, we can take action faster and get more things done. Practice your decision making skills by setting a 5 seconds rule to make your daily decision. (Ex: What beverage am I going to have? Coke or lemon tea.)
Find someone who is able to take action easily. Whenever you are stuck with analysis paralysis, find them and talk to them about your problem. Most likely you will get a positive reply and get the momentum you need to get going.
These tips worked fine for me in helping me to take action and also to achieve results. Analysis without action does not help you to have any kind of positive results. Now, you have the tips to help you overcome analysis paralysis, why don’t you go start something that will help to enhance your life today?
Finally, Stop thinking about it and start doing something.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.