Learn more about personaldevelopment with this collection
How to strengthen your willpower
How to overcome temptation and distractions
The role of motivation in willpower
Analysis paralysis is the state of overthinking a decision to the point that a choice never gets made.
You face analysis paralysis when you…
The first step to cracking decision-making paralysis is to differentiate between big and small decisions, after which you give the decision the level of attention based on its importance.
3 questions to differentiate between big and small decisions:
If the decision isn’t going to make a big difference a year from now and there are no serious consequences that will come out of it, then it is a small decision. Spend as little time as you need to nail this. Then, let go.
If the decision will create a major impact after a year and there are serious implications from making the wrong choice (such as marrying someone you don’t love), then it’s a big decision.
Set aside time to think over it.
Examples of small decisions:
Examples of mid-term decisions:
Examples of big decisions:
Every option has its pros and cons. Without knowing your end objective, you’ll forever be debating the relative pros and cons of each choice without a meaningful conclusion.
Before you dig into the options for your decision, ask yourself: “What is my end objective? What do I want to get out of this decision?”
Identify your top two objectives, a maximum of three.
Evaluate your choices based on your objective(s).
As you do that, you will find that some options will stand out more strongly than the rest. These are the options you want to look at.
Unless you are dealing with a life-altering decision like who to marry and what career path to choose, perfection is not the key. Your goal is to pick a moderately “okay” choice in a fair amount of time, and then move on.
The 80/20 Rule can be used here:
It takes 20% effort to achieve 80% of the gain of a decision. But to nail down the final 20% gain to achieve a 100% perfect outcome, you need to invest a huge amount of effort.
This effort needs to be justified by the importance of the decision.
When you have too many options, it clutters the decision-making process.
List all the available options. Then, eliminate the bad ones. You should be left with 3-4 options, which makes it easier to choose. Evaluate the remaining options against your end objective (see tip #2).
Certain incidents built up over time — called childhood stories — can make us very sensitive about doing anything.
Every decision has its pros and cons, and it’s more important to learn and focus on the positive, not the negative.
If you constantly freeze when making decisions, perhaps you have a childhood story driving your behaviour.
Do you have a childhood story driving your analysis paralysis? Why does it affect you so? How can you let it go?
Parkinson’s Law says, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” What this means is that your work will take however long you allow it to take. If you set aside 15 minutes for a task, it’ll take 15 minutes. If you set aside 30 minutes, it’ll take 30 minutes. If you don’t set a time limit, it may take forever!
This is the same in decision making.
To solve this, set a time limit. Your time limit should be based on the importance of the decision.
Consult someone with insight into what you’re asking about.
It is worthwhile to pay and get expert advice from specialists who know what they are doing. It helps us cut through the noise, get the information we need, and make the right choice.
If you are obsessing about every little thing even though it has no big impact, perhaps you have outgrown your routine. It’s time to channel your energy into bigger goals.
If you often face analysis paralysis with little decisions, here is a question for you: What are your goals for the next few years? Is there any goal you are procrastinating on? Work on them instead. As you shift your focus to the higher-level goals, you gain more experience and become better at making good decisions quickly.
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