This is how Analysis Paralysis & Overthinking affects motivation and procrastination
Ever had the feeling you kept overthinking and analysing the pros and cons of a decision you had to make and found yourself not making a decision at all?
Today I want to focus on the psychological aspects related to job searching, pivoting your career and building your business. Let’s dig into this subject of Analysis Paralysis and overthinking and how this is stopping you from making the progress you are looking for.
The reason to provide an all-encompassing rundown of analysis paralysis and overthinking, including why it is important to your career, how to recognise it and 3 tips and reminders if you are new to the subject is the fact that I notice this is what stopping loads of my clients to take the next step in their careers.
Deep inside they know they have to get moving and they want to but something is stopping them. They cannot pinpoint what is keeping them and they find themselves busy with loads of stuff, except the one thing they should focus on.
What is Analysis Paralysis and why does it matter?
Analysis what? Let me briefly explain a bit more about Analysis Paralysis. Analysis Paralysis describes the process where overanalysing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become paralysed, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon within a natural time frame.
Think of you standing in front of an immense ice cream display and the agony of choice blocking you from ordering ice cream and enjoying it. Perhaps your brain short circuit and you walk out because you don’t feel like having an ice cream anymore. Just because there is so much to choose from.
If you keep overthinking a situation the situation may be deemed too complicated and a decision is never made or made much too late due to anxiety that a potentially larger problem may arise. You might desire a perfect solution from scratch but may fear making a decision that could result in an error while on the way to a better solution.
Some Real Examples
I see it happening a lot: clients that show me endless excel sheets of all the jobs they applied to so far, summing up everything and anything they did. Clients show me all the research they conducted to start their business, they have a business plan ready and listed all the pros and cons, but never spoke to a potential client or went over to the chamber of commerce to get started. Or the one client that deep down inside wants to start a business but keeps seeking financial security before getting started.
And what about the clients that want to pivot their careers? They have so many ideas in their mind, so many directions they wish to investigate, but kept it all to themselves. Most of them never share their ideas with a single person and now they are running around in mind circles that only focus on the reasons why things won’t work out.
The one thing all these clients have in common is this: They end up frustrated, anxious and demotivated and never take the next step. All the more reason to deep dive into this subject and share my insights on this subject with you.
But if this is you, if you recognise yourself being the person who is paralysed and keeps overthinking, the one thing I want to say to you: Get help, schedule a free call with me today and see who I can support you to overcome this.
The History of Analysis Paralysis
The phrase analysis paralysis is going way back in history, it was already used in Shakespeare’s hamlet, posed by Voltaire (Perfect is the enemy of good) and was used by Winston Churchill.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz did extensive research on the subject and wrote the book “The paradox of choice (why more is less).” His research shows that having many choices benefits us if they don’t take too much time and above all they should not make us dissatisfied. More possibilities bring more doubts and thus making a choice becomes more of a burden than a liberation.
According to Schwartz, too much choice stress can lead to psychological disorders such as chronic stress and fear of failure. Time to figure out how we can make choices without losing ourselves in overthinking.
The interaction between Analysis Paralysis, Overthinking, Procrastination and Motivation
I already mentioned “overthinking”. Overthinking means thinking about something too much or too long. It’s what brings you analysis paralysis. Other things that relate to analysis paralysis are Procrastination and Motivation.
Overthinking hinders much more than your choices. It evokes procrastination. Because we analyse information too much, we also postpone taking action. This obviously doesn’t help if we want to get things done. In fact, research in psychology and neuroscience shows analysis paralysis is a far greater drain on your productivity and well-being than wasted time alone. Research also shows employees spend on average more than half of their working days receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their job!
There are a number of less obvious consequences of overthinking:
- Overthinking lowers your performance on mentally demanding tasks
- Overthinking is killing creativity
- Overthinking undermines your confidence and willpower
- Overthinking makes you less happy and happy
When looking at my clientele, I can split them into 2 groups. Groups get to work and implement the new things learned and no matter how busy they are, they are motivated to take the next step and find ways to make this work.
The second group takes in all the knowledge and new things, is enthusiastic about it, wishes to know more, and knows they have to get started but they never find the time to implement things. They keep procrastinating on the things that need to be done. They end up being demotivated, frustrated and sometimes even anxious or depressed.
It is like a continuum – once you start overthinking, you start procrastinating, you keep doing more research, learning more, you start getting demotivated and all of a sudden you find yourself making no decisions at all. You feel paralysed.
There is always the possibility to schedule a 30-minute free introductory call to learn more about the ways I can support you by taking your personal situation into account. Don’t hesitate to check my schedule over here and plan your call today.
How to recognize Analysis Paralysis
If you find yourself running around in mind circles, not making any decisions about your career – this is when you run into analysis paralysis. If you find yourself procrastinating on the things that need to be done, it means you are getting there.
If you feel you are a perfectionist – this can be one of the ingredients for ending up in analysis paralysis. Because when will you ever find the perfect solution? There almost never is. And if there is, you already would have found it by now.
When will we get into analysis paralysis? It is most common when:
- You get overwhelmed by all the options available (choice stress)
- You make the decision too complicated when it should really be a very simple one
- You feel compelled to make the perfect choice
- You feel a deep fear of choosing the wrong one
All of these situations usually lead to delays in making a decision. Because you want to avoid making the wrong choice at all costs. You think: “Better no choice than the wrong choice.” Although you realise that not choosing also is a choice.
Please remember this: There is a reason why you ended up in this situation of overthinking and paralysis analysis. So what is the main reason keeping you from taking action?
Causes can vary since feelings of insecurity have different causes. The reasons why we procrastinate vary. A talk with a professional might help to unravel what is the actual cause. So if you wish me to support you on this subject, don’t hesitate to schedule your free first call to find out how I can support you. When you find the cause, you found the solution.
Tips and Reminders for dealing with Analysis Paralysis
This is all good and nice, but how to recognise analysis paralysis but mostly: how to overcome it? Let me help you out with some tips and reminders to get started.
- #1 Narrow down your choices.
And I mean the quality and quantity of your choices. If we feel we have a lot of choices to make, we also don’t make any so you want to start prioritising your choices. At the same time, you wish to narrow down the options to a reasonable number. This makes decision-making less complex.
- #2 Trust your intuition, your gut feeling.
A lot of decision-making is done unconsciously. So we could decide to overthink every decision we want to make or we could decide to trust our gut feeling a bit more and choose automatically. This will limit the number of choices we have to make.
- #3 Good is better than perfect.
Instead of searching for the perfect solution, we can also decide on the option that matches most of our criteria. Set the bar less high and enjoy more relaxation instead of putting yourself up with frustration.
May these tips help you to say goodbye to analysis paralysis and help you to add some more coincidences to your life. What I want you to take away from this blog post is the fact you are not the only one in this situation. We find ourselves in this situation every now and then and this is OK.
The best thing about all of this: there is a way out!
If you would like to share your story or find out more about the ways I can support you in getting rid of overthinking things, please use the scheduler below to schedule your free 30-minute call to find out more.
I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.