A previous post examined the nature of analysis paralysis and how it affects us as humans – physically, mentally, and in behaviour. The issue of analysis paralysis can be particularly crippling when working within teams due to differing opinions, a deluge of data, or even insufficient data. It is most important to understand that every decision is a learning opportunity.
For those looking to move from indecisiveness to action, here are some ways to break the cycle of analysis paralysis, reclaim agency, and act with decision:
- Observe bodily changes
The first step is to recognize analysis paralysis. As mentioned in the previous post, several bodily changes happen. We can begin by watching for stress signals such as tension, nausea, or breathing trouble. At this stage, it helps to turn inwards and see whether ruminating thoughts keep intruding into one’s consciousness.
- Become mindful of practices that breed inaction
This includes asking for others’ opinions, engaging in people-pleasing, and working through internal drives to be a perfectionist. It is important to reduce feelings of anxiety and regret. Rather than feeling bogged down by forecasting outcomes, it helps to stay in the present and work on navigating to the next step.
- Learn about decision-making skills
Structure your day for decision-making, i.e., make big decisions in the morning itself. If researching the pros and cons of the decision is critical, set a time limit on how much time will be spent on such research. Then, determine all the options and eliminate those that don’t support your objectives. It helps to remember the overall goal or objective to keep one on track.
- Start small and practice often
Those who frequently experience analysis paralysis should learn to trust their decision-making capabilities. It helps to practice making small decisions faster with some impulsivity in order to build confidence when making larger, more serious decisions. Find and use frameworks, mentors, and resources that further assist with reducing the cognitive overload that could lead to analysis paralysis.
The decision to act can, by far, be the hardest. As Bruce Lee once said, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”