Is Analysis Paralysis Killing Your Productivity?

The short 19th century poem The Centipede’s Dilemma, most commonly attributed to Katherine Craster (1841-74), illustrates a common occurrence that has likely affected everyone at one point or another.

A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg moves after which?”
This raised her doubts to such a pitch,
She fell exhausted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

Do you suffer from analysis paralysis?
Analysis paralysis occurs when we over-analyze a situation to the point where a logical decision can’t be made, eventually causing everything to fall apart. And, it’s a phenomenon that is common in the workplace. Whether it’s a leader who can’t decide on a strategic direction for the company or a team of individuals who have reached an impasse on which direction to take an important project – analysis paralysis can have dire consequences on productivity and success.

A key to breaking through analysis paralysis is to stop thinking so much about “what if” and simply take a step in a direction – any direction. Even if you make the wrong decision, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and make adjustments to realign your strategies and stay on track.

How do you break through analysis paralysis? Let us know in the comments section below.

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3 Responses to Is Analysis Paralysis Killing Your Productivity?

  1. Helen May 20, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Yes this is me. I over analyze more today then I did 20 years ago. There are much more variables to consider. Then there is that factor of making the wrong decision. It does cause me more stress and I try to make quicker decision’s and deal with the outcome later, good or bad.

  2. Doug S June 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I’m with Helen – I used to select a course of action and go full-speed ahead, damn the torpedos. Now I suffer from analysis paralysis – knowledge of the negative affects of poor decisions in the past, and so much more knowledge (partly due to the information age) makes it impossible to ever be finished with research and analysis.

  3. Helen October 9, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    It’s like Helen and Doug took the words out of my mouth. It’s a curse.

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