This first sentence took me 20 minutes to write, no seriously. Does this ever happen to you? How about the term paper (project) that you spend 8 hours doing, but actual typing time is less than a hour? Why does this happen and what can we do to avoid ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.
For the sake of this blog post, we are looking at analysis paralysis through the lens of a project. It can be any kind of project including a term paper, a home remodel, or something at work. The initial parts of all these projects are the ones that give most people the most issues. So how do we avoid them?
1. Set the timer
Have a pre-defined amont of time you will spend on gathering the data you need to do your project. Once that time is up, it is time to start doing. No matter how much of an expert you become, there will always be details that you will not be able to know, it is just time to accept that. This will also help your organize what is really important, and what is not.
2. Grab a template –
Have a template that you have had past success with and continue to use it. I do a lot of ad-hoc projects covering many different topics. I have found that if I use the same format/template for my memos, I can more quickly organize my thoughts. For example, my typical writing will be organized in this order: top 3 takeaways, background, analysis, conclusion. Sure there will be differences between different work, but having a template allows you to focus in on the important areas.
3. Stick to the basics and trust your gut –
As I have written in a lot of my comments for these blogs, I am a firm believer that simpler is almost always better. When people try to make things overly complicated or difficult, it takes them out of their comfort zones, and ultimately could lead to failure. Gut feelings are typically right, no really. Famed scientist Gerd Gigerenzer has written “intuition, it seems, is not some sort of mystical chemical reaction but a neurologically based behavior that evolved to ensure that we humans respond quickly when faced with a dilemma.”
4. Let your team help –
We have talked about this in class over and over, but it is important to mention again. When working in a team, utilize all members. This could significantly reduce analysis paralysis.
5. Take the leap –
Just go for it, every project is going to have issues. Accepting this fact, and understanding contingency plans ahead of time will make taking the leap much easier.
These different steps will help limit the time it takes to get a projects rolling and avoid the trap of analysis paralysis.