Paralysis Analysis

Paralysis Analysis
Photo Credit: Jack Margerison, Photo Of Sam Goates wool.

We have or will all suffer from it at some point. You can be sure of that!
It is no new phenomena, you can track it back to 620 BCE texts: Aesops Fable.

But what is it? Analysis Paralysis or Paralysis by analysis is where you spend so long analysing options and what to do that you never actually get anything done. The options you are analysing paralyse you.

This came up in a recent interview Kate and I were conducting. It’s not the first it’s come up, both with artists, makers, craftspeople, and with ourselves. We all want to achieve so much to keep our crafts alive and to be able to make a living from what we do. It is no secret we all work many jobs within our business to keep what we do alive.

So how do you tackle paralysis by analysis? How do you choose what to work on, how to go about it and when?

I’ll tell you how Kate and I tackle paralysis analysis.

We remove the things that need analysed. Nothing to analyse? Nothing to be paralysed by.

I write this in hope it gives value to someone who is reading, someone who is suffering from the impending doom that is the need to do everything whilst simultaneously having so much to do that you cant get anything done.

The guiding questions

Around 18 months ago Kate and I came to 1 question that would drive every decision within our business for the foreseeable future:

“Will this increase the number of people who know about us”

Much in the same way Jeff Bezos, when building amazon, ran every decision through: “will this increase the customer experience“

Why did we choose this guiding question? Because I believe the only surety in any business is: The more people who know about you the more money you will make. Make no mistake for Kate and I this is not about making oodles of money. It's about being able to continue to do what we do and serve our mission to spotlight and uplift the makers, artist, and craftspeople of the world. And to do that… we need to make money.

So how has our question: “Will this increase the number of people who know about us” helped us over come paralysis by analysis, and more important how could a question like this help you?

With so much going on I often think it’s not about what you can do, but what you can strike off the list (remember the Eisenhower matrix from a month or so back?) This means if the answer to our guiding question is NOT a huge yes… we don’t do the thing. We strike it off your list.

Caveat: you still need to file your taxes and do your VAT return. HMRC / IRS / your governing authority will not give you a pardon because you were concentrating on your own thing. Unfair I know.

Framing your goals in a question like this gives us the ability to strike off 30/70% of the non aligned ideas we dreamt up - so we can focus in. This focus, is the first step managing our paralysis by analysis. With focus you can have clear direction and action towards your goals. In our earlier newsletter about the E Myth, this is where the manager persona steps in.

Lower your starting amps

Excuse me reverting back to my engineering nerdiness here, Momentum is the easy part the initial inertia is the higher force that needs overcome in order to get things moving. Fun fact, a 1hp motor runs at 8.68 amps at 230v 50hz, that same motor requires an initial 60 amps draw to get started. Big difference right? Think of your work in the same way, reduce the options you are analysing (force required to get started) so you can get to the bit that requires less force (momentum / flow state).

Kate and I invested a lot of our resources into new laptops this year, Why? Because the starting amps are lower. Not literally but figuratively. I am sat on a train writing this now. On a laptop that is light enough I dont mind carrying with me everywhere, has a good enough battery it can go all day, and the minute I open it… I'm straight to work No annoying start up or delay in getting things done. No excuses / options = No Analysis Paralysis.

Much in the same way you will hear writers buy a laptop with only word on it. No internet, no nothing. They cut out the things that could distract them. Give themself a clear goal and guiding question for the allotted time ahead of them and GO.

Does buying new laptops answer yes to our question: “Will this increase the number of people who know about us” Sure does. You see this added efficiency means we can put out more content whilst on the road and in between everything else we have going on. Putting more out, means more people see what we are doing. Which means… More people know about us.

In conclusion

I don’t think the goal is to over come paralysis by analysis. I think you will always come to head against that at some point, some decisions even require it in some form. But you can concentrate your energies in such a way that paralysis by analysis becomes less of an issue in your day to day by being efficient and setting your self a guiding question or other parameters in which your decisions run through. For this creates clarity and clarity is what keeps us on track, it removes the things that need analysed.