The Truth About Analysis Paralysis and How I Manage
Hi, my name is Casie and I have analysis paralysis.
I obsess and I overthink. I get caught in a spiral of weighing my options. And I end up with no decision made or action taken.
Too many choices can be overwhelming for me.
What is Analysis Paralysis?
I define it as overthinking that results in inaction. It causes me to not show up the way I’d like to in my life. I have so many ideas I’d like to pursue and goals I want to reach and many of them have been left in the idea stage because of it and that’s not ok with me.
“Analysis paralysis is overthinking that results in inaction”
What I thought was laziness or the lack of motivation, was actually the struggle to decide on the “perfect” way to move forward.
I remember the first day of my first “big” job. I got hired right in the middle of the busy season so there was no time for any training, I was thrown into the fire.
My first assignment was to review the artwork for the upcoming ad campaign. There over 30 different versions of the ad, plus additional versions in Spanish, French, Creole and Portuguese.
I sat there for hours trying to assess what was the best method to attack this assignment. I wanted to make a great impression, so I had to be sure to do it perfectly and there were hundreds of ways I could have done it. I would start in one direction then stop and restart another way, over and over.
By the end of the day, I was frozen, with a desk covered in copies of the ads. I could not finish the task and I was devastated and embarrassed.
You see, sometimes when I am faced with a goal or a challenge, like most recently, starting my blog, decorating my office space or losing weight, my mind gets stuck on what is the best way to get started. There are so many ways to go about it and I weigh the plethora of options over and over in an effort to select the best one. And because there often is no one right way, I end up stuck without a decision.
I don’t know if this is something I will always have to manage BUT I’m no longer letting it limit me or prevent me from showing up as my best self.
Here are some of the tools I use to help me push past the paralysis.
Make a Plan
Creating a schedule helps me stay on task, creating boundaries that keep me focused and eliminates the unnecessary decision making that can sometimes creep in and throw me off the course to completion.
Although life happens and things don’t always go as planned, it is still important to have guard rails to keep you from straying too far off course and creating a schedule does just that for me.
I’m not talking about health care here. I’m talking about having someone in your corner who can help you snap out of it. In the most loving way of course.
In my life, this is my husband. When I’m wrapped up in my head unable to move forward, I can talk to him about it and he’s able to give me perspective that helps me to get out of my head and get back on track. There is also that accountability aspect built in there as well.
It sometimes takes someone outside of your spiral to help pull you out.
Break It Up
Part of the reason I get stuck is trying to take on the big picture at once. Like, “Man, I have 50 lbs to lose, how am I going to do that?!” or “I want to work on my blog full time, where do I start?”
But every weight loss goal is achieved one pound at a time and a successful blog is achieved one article at a time.
I have to break down my big goals into small, manageable chunks. My mind can’t handle the breadth of a large goal all at once but taking it step by step shrinks the goal into something more achievable.
Take a walk, take a nap, go to the restroom. Sometimes all you need is to step away from the issue to clear your mind.
I’ve gotten some of the most brilliant ideas in the hallway at work on my way to a bathroom break. And it’s because my brain was able to refresh and release itself from that paralysis, to reset and work the way I need it to.
It makes a world of a difference for me when I’m stuck in an analysis spiral.
Set A Date
If I don’t set a definite date to hit my goal then my brain is free run wild forever.
Defining an end date forces my mind to stay focused, knowing that there isn’t that crutch of running wild sifting through options. It gives me tunnel vision heading straight to success.
What tools have you used to push through analysis paralysis? Share in the comments.