“It doesn’t matter in which direction you choose to move when under a mortar attack, just so long as you move.” – Jeff Boss.
Couple of years back there was a ranking for teacher III position in our school. As a qualified teacher for the ranking, I was highly encouraged by my superior and colleagues. I know to myself that I have been performing my best to accomplish as many tasks as possible. However, there were many questions in my mind. Am I really qualified? What are the accomplishments that I could use in ranking? Who will be my competitors? What are the papers of my competitors?
What should I do?
I ended up doing nothing. I went home, opened my cellular phone and played my favorite online game.
In some time or another, we all have experienced this situation. It is called “Analysis Paralysis”. Analysis paralysis refers to a situation in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of overanalyzing data or overthinking a problem.
Most of the times, we wish to please everybody, so we wait until everyone gives their thoughts, which usually ends in bad decisions. Or, we wait for more and more information to make our analysis perfect because we want to have the best results.
Delaying action while overanalyzing information clearly doesn’t help when it comes to getting things done. In fact, a 2017 LexisNexis survey showed that, on average, employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their jobs!
Unfortunately, that’s just the start of the bad news. Studies in psychology and neuroscience reveal that analysis paralysis takes a far greater toll on your productivity and well-being than just lost time.
From science and experience that overthinking a decision increases anxiety and kills your productivity, but what can we do about it? Below are a few science-backed, expert-approved strategies from you can start using today to end analysis paralysis, make decisions efficiently, and ultimately get more done with less stress.
1. Structure your day for the decisions that matter most.
2. Intentionally limit the amount of information you consume.
3. Set a deadline and hold yourself accountable.
4. Know your main objective.
5. Get out of your own head and talk it out with someone else.
6. Approach problems with an iterative mind set.
7. Start before you feel ready.
8. Make your decision the right one.
According to Dr. Becky Kane (2021), it’s often our confidence in and commitment to our decisions that determine whether they are the “right” ones in the end. When faced with a difficult decision, ask yourself which option you’ll be more motivated to make succeed. Instead of getting stuck over-analyzing a problem to find the best solution, use your time and energy it coming up with a concrete, actionable plan to make your decision succeed.
Let’s snap out of analysis paralysis! No matter how small the movement, we must move!