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Defeating Analysis Paralysis

Analysis Paralysis

Defeating analysis paralysis is something most people have no clue about. I got this close friend of mine who gets this odd act when it comes to defeating analysis paralysis on making decisions in just a matter of few minutes. It’s not like he’s dull but he just feels like he needs more time and he takes a much longer time to reach a conclusion.

How do you behave when it comes to decision making?

Do you spend a long time thinking over every single decision because you are afraid of making the wrong choice?

Do you feel a need to analyze every single option before you come to a conclusion?

Does your over-analysis often stop you from making a move quickly which at times make you miss perfectly good opportunities?

This is known as analysis paralysis. When you over-think about a decision to the point where a choice never gets made thereby creating a paralyzed state of inaction.

Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A person faces analysis paralysis when he/she…

• Is overwhelmed by the available options.
• Over-complicates the decision when it’s supposed to be quite simple.
• Feels a deep fear of making a wrong decision hence stalling decision making to prevent a wrong decision being made.
• Feels compelled to pick the right “perfect” decision thereby delaying making a decision until due research is done.

… all in all, not able to decide at all.

Psychologist Barry Schwartz sometimes coined the phrase “Paradox of Choice” to describe his consistent findings that while increased choices allows us to achieve objectively better results it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis and dissatisfaction.

Analysis Paralysis In Sports

Analysis paralysis is a critical problem in athletics. It can be explained in simple terms as “failure to react in response to over-thought.” A victim of sporting analysis paralysis will frequently think in complicated terms of “what to do next” while contemplating the variety of possibilities and in so doing exhausts the available time in which to act.

Overthinking Decisions Is Holding You Back

Delaying action while over-analyzing information clearly doesn’t help when it comes to getting things done.  Studies in psychology and neuroscience have revealed that analysis paralysis takes a far greater toll on one’s productivity and well-being than just lost time.

Overthinking Lowers Your Performance On Mentally-Demanding Tasks

When you over analyze a situation the repetitive thoughts, anxiety and self-doubt decrease the amount of working memory you have available to complete challenging tasks causing your productivity to plummet even further.

Overthinking Kills Your Creativity

There are lots of findings which suggest the fact that overthinking is a problem that makes it harder to do your best creative work. When you over analyze a situation you become less creative as much of your time is wasted.

Overthinking Eats Up Your Willpower

Not only does this decision fatigue inhibit our ability to clearly assess the situation at hand it also makes us more likely to choose unhealthy food, skip exercise and put off working on side projects in favor of watching TV.  In short over-analyzing a decision makes it much more difficult to make high-quality, long-term choices later on.

Overcoming Analysis Paralysis

There are many ways to help prevent or overcome the logjam of analysis paralysis. There may be many factors contributing to the cause and if these are known they become easy to overcome.

Set Limits

Set initial constraints (deadline, time, people, money, resources) to what you are willing to commit for this plan. Setting deadlines, set a ‘drop dead’ date.  Set a deadline and hold yourself accountable. Limit the amount of info, “Curb your curiosity”.  Intentionally limit the amount of information you consume.

Clarify Your Objectives And Priorities

Having a clear goal can simplify your decisions and actions for any project. Know your main objective.

Make Your Best Decision

Decision fatigue can affect or even prevent good decision making. Structure your day around the decisions that matter most. When you do make your decision, support it. Make your decision the right one.

Get Out Of Your Own Head And Talk It Out With Someone Else.

When paralyzed by a particular decision reaching out for someone else’s opinion, literally anyone else’s opinion can lead to a decision we’ll be happier with than if we had made the choice ourselves.
Schedule a meeting with a coworker, supervisor, mentor or friend. Having to present your deliberations to someone else forces you to synthesize the information you’ve been collecting in a clear, concise way and through this you overcome your analysis paralysis.

Identify Your Top Objective(s)

Before entering into the decision making process identify your top objective(s) for the particular decision. Then use that to guide you in your decision making. This will help you to arrive at a valid decision quicker.

Perfection Is Not Always The Key, Moderately Okay Is

Unless it’s a life-altering decision perfection isn’t the key. Your role is to pick a moderately okay decision in a fair amount of time then move forward thereafter.

Approach Your Problems With An Iterative Or Dynasty Mindset

Decisions are most difficult when uncertainty is greatest. We often base our choices from assumptions that may or may not be accurate. Luckily there’s an easy way to test our assumptions without having to fully commit to any given path. It’s called an iterative approach. Approach your problems with a dynasty (positive) mindset.

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