Why Analysis Paralysis is Detrimental to Founders
As a founder you’ll have many important things on your plate and a lot to stay on top of. Therefore the last thing you want is to experience analysis paralysis. The term "analysis paralysis" or "paralysis of analysis" refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, or citing sources, so that a decision or action is never finally taken, resulting in paralyzing the outcome.”

Why Analysis Paralysis is Detrimental to Founders

Have you ever needed to make a decision and yet you found yourself unable to do so? You are either tempted to start over or unsure which direction to take. Either way, you are overwhelmed and can’t move forward. Experts call this analysis paralysis.

We’ll cover:

  • What Is Analysis Paralysis?
  • What Causes Overthinking
  • How Analysis Paralysis Can Affect You
  • Signs of Analysis Paralysis
  • How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis
  • Summary

 

What Is Analysis Paralysis?

According to ResearchGate, the term “analysis paralysis” or “paralysis of analysis” refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, or citing sources, so that a decision or action is never finally taken, resulting in paralyzing the outcome.”

In other words, a decision that could be made quickly takes an unusually long time due to excessive overthinking. Essentially, because you’re terrified of making the wrong decision, you don’t make one at all. 

Take this instance described in the Jam Study, a consumer psychology experiment. One day, market researchers stocked shelves with 24 varieties of jam and had shoppers sample one or more and then choose which one to buy. The next day, only 6 varieties were stocked. The study found that consumers were 10 times more likely to buy jam if they were presented with only 6 varieties instead of 24. Rather than benefiting from having many options, they become anxious, begin to overthink, and are unable to act.

 

What Causes Overthinking

  • Unlearned Habit From Childhood

Childhood habits and patterns can be hard to unlearn. Whether it was from the people around us or developed as a defence mechanism, overthinking even the smallest decisions can be a trait we carry from childhood.

  • Holding on to the myth of control

Believing that you can control everything that affects you is a delusion. External factors such as the way other people act and react, or even the weather can affect our day-to-day. therefore being in control of every outcome is impossible.

  • Being a perfectionist

Attention to detail and thorough planning are great skills to have, but it doesn’t guarantee perfect results. The goal of perfectionism is a burden, it’s unrealistic, unachievable and exhausts time, energy and money. Yet as Creators, we naturally strive to deliver the best product or service, thus battling with a serious desire for perfection. 

  • Procrastinating

Overthinking is also a side effect of procrastination. For example, let’s say you have a project due, but you spend more time preparing to do the project because you’re worried you might miss something, or forget something. You overthink the work required to do the project and don’t actually do the project. 

 

How Analysis Paralysis Can Affect You As A Founder?

As a founder, you’ll have many important things on your plate and a lot to stay on top of. Therefore the last thing you want is to experience analysis paralysis. 

Here’s how analysis paralysis might affect you:

  • Exhausts Willpower

Willpower is used even when making the simplest decision like deciding what shoes to wear for the day. So when hours or days are spent poring over one decision, your willpower reserves are drained faster, leaving you mentally worn out.

  • Causes Unfulfillment. 

People can be divided into groups of maximizers and satisficers when making decisions. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision whereas satisficers go for the option that’s passable. Maximizers tend to fall prey to analysis paralysis because they don’t stop analyzing until they make the perfect decision, and will doubt themselves and may become depressed if they can’t figure it out.

  • Reduces Creativity.

 A report published by Stanford University says that over-analyzing may also restrict creativity. Manish Saggar the lead author of the study stated “The more you think about it, the more you mess it up”.

  • Causes Burnout.

A major effect of analysis paralysis is burnout. Over-analysing exhausts your emotional bandwidth, causing burnout. Experiencing constant fatigue and lack of productivity is not the state a creative founder wants to be in.

 

Signs of Analysis Paralysis

Because analysis paralysis is caused by overthinking. It would make sense to look out for signs that you’re overthinking something. It can be hard to differentiate between thinking a decision through in a healthy way and obsessing over it.

When you’re in charge of overseeing so many moving parts it’s normal to want to make sure that every part is stable before building on top of it. So it would be useful to be able to know when you’re being detailed and when you start nitpicking. Here’s a helpful checklist to help you tell the difference. If you find yourself agreeing with most of these statements, you’re probably an over-thinker.

Do you:

  • worry constantly to the point where you stop being solution-focused?
  • have trouble sleeping because your brain is in overdrive?
  • dwell on moments when your business partner says something or acts in a way you didn’t like?
  • relive embarrassing moments in meetings or during phone calls?
  • spend a lot of free time thinking about the hidden meaning behind feedback given on a product?
  • often ask yourself “what if?” questions about past decisions?
  • Constantly feel mentally and emotionally exhausted?
  • recall conversations with members of your team and think about all the things you wish you had or hadn’t said?
  • spend a lot of time worrying about the future of your company and not living in the present?

 

How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

The good news is that you can overcome analysis Paralysis and here’s how:

  • Identify It

The only way to identify analysis paralysis is to learn about the signs, (which we’ll talk about later in this post). As with all issues, the first step is to know what you’re dealing with.

  • Practice Making Decisions Efficiently

This may sound scary to you if you usually make decisions by looking at all angles and assessing all possible outcomes. That’s why you should start with small, everyday choices like which Netflix show to watch or which route to take on your daily walk. The more you practice the easier it will be to apply this to bigger decisions.

  • Consult And Hire The Right People

As important as a decision may be to you, you don’t have to bear the burden of making the right choice all by yourself. You can consult others, such as a project manager, who already knows more about what you’re struggling with and give you advice and solutions that you were unable to come up with on your own. Brimah and John is definitely here to offer our expertise when it comes to important choices to make for the success of your business.

Here are a few tips on how to delegate tasks:

      • Having a good understanding of your team. 

To identify the best people for each task, you are required to have an awareness of the team’s strengths and weaknesses, understanding which tasks they would be better suited to, allowing for a more effective working day.

      • Avoid last-minute task delegations. 

Where possible, allowing for there to be notice given for tasks to be completed improves overall efficiency. This is due to the fact that given notice, employees are aware of tasks that need to be completed and the time that needs to be put in to complete the task. Last-minute additions to the schedule can hinder overall progress. Where it isn’t possible to provide notice for delegated tasks, providing context around last-minute delegations can make employees feel that their time is respected and they would be more likely to work effectively.

      • Avoid micromanaging. 

Providing an outline for the task and the desired outcome can be all you need when assigning tasks. As long as employees complete tasks with the desired outcomes, allowing independence in task completion can help foster feelings of trust and respect whilst making sure you’re getting the most value for your time.

      • Set employees up for success. 

Setting tasks for employees who haven’t had the necessary training or haven’t been given the required resources to complete the tasks set can set them up for failure. Allowing new employees to be given time to learn the ropes and receive required training can make all the difference in ensuring success.

      • Stay aware. 

Whilst micromanaging tasks is not efficient, checking the work once completed is useful to ensure nothing goes unchecked or slips through the cracks. One team member’s errors reflect on the entire team, so ensuring work is checked and constructive feedback is provided will provide maximum benefit. Commending specific aspects where an employee has done a good job is also important when providing feedback to let staff know what they should continue to do.

      • Reduce Decision-making

Through various project management and habit-building software, you can significantly reduce the number of decisions you make on a daily basis by automating and planning out your tasks in advance.

A few examples of great tools for project management include:

      • Notion
      • Trello
      • Monday
      • Asana
 
  • Trust Your Gut

Although facts and data are important when making decisions, sometimes decisions have a better outcome when we rely on instinct. Instinct is usually based on experiences and feelings and decisions about personal matters are almost always made better when you rely on that persistent feeling in your gut.

  • Take a Break

With analysis paralysis, you think about choices over and over again continuously for extended periods of time. Sometimes, taking a break from pondering and doing a hobby that distracts you, gives your brain the chance to rest and refresh. And the decision to be made seems easier when you come back to it.

  • Get Started Before Everything is in Place

Get used to making moves before you feel perfectly ready. Waiting for all resources to be gathered and all your ducks to be in a row actually wastes those resources and your time. Though it seems counterintuitive, things come together quickly once you get the ball rolling because you start seeing what really works and what doesn’t instead of making predictions.

  • See a Professional

It’s not just self-doubt or overthinking that leads to analysis paralysis, Oftentimes it occurs as an anxiety-related response. Anxiety can bring on a series of fear and overthinking that can be difficult to curb.

If you’re having trouble with overthinking, a therapist can help you identify triggers and create a plan to change this pattern. For someone with limited time such as yourself, professional assistance can be very valuable.

  • Consider the Big Picture

Think about the grand scheme of things for your business, in relation to your vision and ultimate goal, will this decision have been worth stressing over in a year’s time or even a month’s time? Is it likely that you’ll even remember the anxiety you’re experiencing now? Or will letting this go free up more time for other areas and let you progress quicker? Having this perspective will help you know if your time is being wasted on one decision.

 

In summary

In short, analysis paralysis is excessively analysing options to the point of indecision. To avoid being caught off-guard by analysis paralysis, look out for behaviours such as constant worrying, reliving past mistakes, trying unrealistically to predict future outcomes and always feeling mentally drained. Founders tend to be impacted by analysis paralysis because they need to be on their A-game, clear-minded and able to make fast and decisive decisions that impact their business. Analysis paralysis may lead to reduced creativity, burnout and feelings of unfulfillment.

Some ways you can overcome analysis paralysis include: learning to identify it, delegating, reducing the number of decisions you have to make, taking breaks and trusting your gut instincts. We at Brimah and John are also here to support you and help you find peace of mind. 

More
Resources

How To Gain Clarity In Ambiguous Situations

If you’re confused, overwhelmed or unsure what it is you’re trying to do. If everything’s all scrambled up in your head and you are feeling lost. Here’s the first thing to do to gain clarity.

Creating A Brand Strategy

Creating a brand is a crucial part of any business. It helps influence what your customers feel when they think about your business and typically involves your company’s name, the colours you use, your logo and the emotions that all these things evoke in the potential customer.

Why Analysis Paralysis is Detrimental to Founders

As a founder you’ll have many important things on your plate and a lot to stay on top of. Therefore the last thing you want is to experience analysis paralysis. The term “analysis paralysis” or “paralysis of analysis” refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, or citing sources, so that a decision or action is never finally taken, resulting in paralyzing the outcome.”

Your
Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join mailing list

Multi by nature, limitless by design.​

© 2014 Brimah and John

Multi by nature, limitless by design.
Let's connect