Do you ever become so overwhelmed by all you need to do that you end up not doing anything at all? You make lists, consider what’s most important, think about what you should do first, and stress out that you aren’t getting anywhere. That’s called “Paralysis by Analysis” and it happens to me all the time.
Getting zapped by over thinking a solution or a decision is never fun. Most of the time you are keenly aware that you aren’t making any progress, yet it’s still hard to break free from it and go after what needs to be done. I suppose paralysis by analysis isn’t as big of a problem for all personality types. Some people are good at charging ahead full-speed. (Although that can bring along other challenges as well.)
What is Paralysis by Analysis?
On the outside, paralysis by analysis may look like simple procrastination. While it may appear to be avoidance, it is actually deeper than that. Some projects are so overwhelming that the best way to attack the job may not be clear. We are scared of doing it wrong or it becoming too difficult that we develop this huge mental block about it.
When we first started our transition to minimalism, there were several times that the clutter just paralyzed me. Dealing with sentimental gifts that had been passed down to me were guilt inducing and paralyzing. Trying to decide what items to save for our kids to grow into like books and games was tough as well. Even every day battles like the huge pile of computer parts that moved in over the weekend is something that I’m avoiding. I don’t know where to start on it, so I just keep avoiding it and walking right past it.
How to Overcome Paralysis by Analysis
So what do you do to get control of the clutter, project, or decision that is paralyzing you?
- Realize that you’re in control. When it comes right down to it, you’re in full-control of the situation at hand. You make your own decisions and no one can drag you into taking action.
- Get some objective feedback. I count on my husband to help me see things with fresh eyes. When you’re too close to a project or decision you often miss some very obvious steps to take. Getting outside input can help jump start our progress.
- Put the worst case scenario in perspective. Think about things logically. In most cases, you only have positive things to gain by making progress. You might not be any worse off by doing nothing, but think about how great it could be if you accomplish it.
- Jump right in. Whether you prefer to take little bites at a time or jump in full force, just go for it! ANY progress you make will feel 10 times better than not doing it at all because you didn’t know where to start.
Do you have paralysis by analysis right now? Do have any tips for what helps you overcome that feeling? Please share with us in the comments.
For more tips on how to handle a house full of clutter, check out my book Family-Sized Minimalism.
Article originally published on 03/28/2011