Limit the amount of information - Deepstash

Limit the amount of information

Efficiently manage information by determining what you want to learn from it first, then reading for that specific thing.

Another way to consume information is to determine the number of resources you’ll use first.  Limit yourself to only those resources.

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MORE IDEAS FROM The Science of Analysis Paralysis

A recent Stanford study suggests that over-thinking not only impedes our ability to perform cognitive tasks but keeps us from reaching our creative potential as well.

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Paradox of Choice

It means that while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.

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This concept is most associated with software development, particularly at fast-moving start-ups with few resources:

  • Instead of trying to release a perfect version of a product that may or may not fit customers’ needs, focus on producing a “minimum viable product”
  • Getting an imperfect product out as quickly as possible allows a product team to use data and user feedback and identify what works and doesn’t work, and incorporate those learnings back into future iterations, of the product.

To break the gridlock of analysis paralysis, we can view each decision as an experiment to be tested. It gives us the freedom to choose something quickly because we know we can improve upon it later.

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Overthinking eats up your willpower

You can think of willpower as a muscle. The more you use it, the more it wears out, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. 

When we agonize over a decision, we deplete our limited supply of willpower much more quickly, causing us to feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

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Talk it out with someone else

The next time you catch yourself thinking over a particular issue, again and again, 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. 

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Structure your day

Because our ability to make quality, long-term decisions deteriorates with each additional choice we make, big or small, successful people tackle their most important task first thing in the morning when their willpower reserves are at their fullest and try to make small decisions as automatic as possible. 

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Set a deadline

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the amount of time you’ve allotted it. Setting a time constraint can force you to make a decision more efficiently.

Find a way to hold yourself accountable for your deadlines. Make your deadline as public as possible. 

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Collecting and analyzing more and more information is a tempting way to try and overcome the uncertainty that comes with taking on big goals. In the end, action is what decides our ultimate success or failure. 

So the next time you’re stuck in analysis mode, remember that successful people start before they feel ready and figure the rest out on the way.

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Identifying and staying true to one main objective as the basis for decision-making helps you overcome a tendency to overthink.

What’s the most important thing for you personally and professionally? Write it down and find a way to remind yourself to review it regularly.

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Though analyzing every last option in the quest for the best choice may lead to an objectively better outcome in some situations, research suggests that this ultimately leads to more anxiety and regret and less happiness and satisfaction with your decisions.

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Our working memory is what allows us to focus on the information we need to get things done at the moment we’re doing them. It is also in limited supply. You can think of it like our brain’s computer memory. Once it’s used up, nothing more can fit in.

When you overanalyze 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.

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It’s tempting to believe that the best decision exists and we can figure out what it is by just researching deeper and thinking harder. The truth is that the options in front of you may be equally valid. 

It’s often our confidence in and commitment to our decisions that determine whether they are the “right” ones in the end. 

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RELATED IDEA

The fear of making mistakes

The fear of making mistakes can have individual (psychological) or organizational causes. The classic individual cause is perfectionism, which leads to lack of productivity, tense climate, micromanagement, and burnout. 

The organizational cause can come from a culture in which exists a fear of failure, a culture in which failure is analyzed not to see what we can learn from it, but to find and punish the guilty, a culture that punishes action, but not the mistakes made due to inaction, causing a total lack of initiative.

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Dangers of being an overthinker
  • It increases your chances of mental illness. And as your mental health declines, your tendency to ruminate increases.
  • It interferes with problem-solving. It will cause you to dwell on the problem rather than look for solutions.
  • It disturbs your sleep. You'll be more likely to toss and turn for hours before you drift off.

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As a leader, your shortcomings will be highlighted more than your strengths. 

Criticism is something you should expect and get used to. Face the fear head on by regularly requesting anonymous feedback from your team.

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