Analysis Paralysis

Have you heard of this term? I didn’t know something like this even existed, until I read about it on the internet. It is a situation, when making decisions paralyses you to such an extent, that you’re not able to make any progress.

It just felt like, this is me! Some times making small decisions, like deciding on what colour to use in my art, what technique to go for, purchasing something, or which brand to go for, could feel paralysing. Time is our most expensive commodity and it is a good way of wasting it.

Every day we all have to make thousands of decisions. Some of which we probably don’t even take notice of. Some decisions are conscious or sub-conscious, or both. Today’s world is great for all the choice you get. You can get the best deal, but it comes at a price. Is it worth our time? And does this actually help? The time I spend ruminating about which option to go for, going from shop to shop, from option to option, or thinking over the options in the back of my mind through the day. That sounds exhausting. Choices for everything expand beyond the horizon these days. Once you start researching the topic, everything seems to expand to a new level, more sub-decisions to be made etc. The options are endless; there is an option for everyone.

The world is full of distractions, what I find I do is, when I have to make a decision, I start to read and research relevant and non-relevant information on the internet and get totally side tracked, or never get nearer a conclusion and that is exhausting. It’s an easy escape. Maybe we all have something, somewhere where we escape from making decisions, whether big or small. Maybe researching the topic forever, we are escaping from making a decision. Making the decision could be fatal, at least that’s how we think and act.

What’s the best way to tackle Analysis Paralysis? I am not sure there is an easy answer for everyone. However probably the best way is to reduce choice and go for something and do something to make progress. This could be a little progress, however small steps can lead to something big.  At times we have to make decisions, when we don’t have an answer for everything. In this case the best may be to just go for the best sounding option and do something to get feedback.

To tackle ANALYSIS PARALYSIS: For a smaller task, make a choice, do something to resolve it fast, learn from it, move on and save energy for the important or bigger decisions.

If you get ‘analysis paralysis’ during the making of an important decision take these steps:

Set yourself a goal (SMART – SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC AND TIME BASED). What are your values in life and how can you apply those? Have you got a vision of what you want to achieve? Keep your mind flexible and open to new options. Sometimes having outcome pre-thought can be paralysing. Consider and understand all the options. Get a second opinion to consider a different perspective. Reduce the options to fewer. Perfection might not necessarily lead to a conclusion. If you can’t make up your mind, choose the best sounding options, and make a decision. Try to take small steps, take small risks. It’s OK to make mistakes. Give yourself a short break; change of scenery. Be flexible. Make progress rather than stay still. Come to a conclusion, then reflect on things. Always keep true to yourself!

Typically 20% of effort creates 80% of result, but 80% effort, creates 20% result. So taking a long time to make a decision, could actually suck out our energy. So let’s make a good choice in how much time and energy we’re taking on decisions in the first place.  Is the amount of mental energy actually worth spending on it? Let your life move forward, rather than stand still :-).

 (I am not saying that I am perfect in listening to my own advice, but it helps to think about it while writing about it.)

I am making slow progress with my artworks at the moment (but steady).


I should celebrate finishing one small painting called 'Swans at Loch Kinnord'.


Here are some artworks I am currently working on to show progression. See images below (excuse the colours, they don't quite match the reality, but it's as close to it as I could get with my current camera, the last image is the best):

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