What is Analysis Paralysis?

What Analysis Paralysis is and how it’s keeping you from achieving your goals

A while back, I was trying to make a decision: should I quit my job and pursue my master’s, transition careers, or ask to be moved to a different role within my organization? I’ve been a little gun shy about achieving further education after taking on more student debt after being straddled with a mountain of it after my undergraduate de. I also had a hard time pinpointing what about my job was dissatisfying me at that point in time. I had no direction, and when I turned to the people around me for help, I came out more confused than before. So I did what I knew would bring me some clarity: research.

I researched each option thoroughly. I sought out more and more mentors to help me navigate the path that I should take. I had charts, I had lists, I had statistics, and I had no idea what to do. I had fallen into the trap of analysis paralysis.

Analysis paralysis is the state of analyzing something to the point where you are unable to make a decision and stuck in the fallacy that more information will make a choice clear. The fact of the matter is that this is a common trap because many of us view making a flawed decision as a failure or as a waste of time.

One of the things that is important to understand is very little in our lives is actually a waste of time, especially when it comes to your career. Knowing what you don’t want to do and what doesn’t work for you is equally crucial to understand what you do want to do. The fact is unless you sign a legally binding contract with a company to stay somewhere for a certain amount of time, you can leave and transition to something that will work better for you.

So next time you find yourself falling into this trap, give yourself a timeline (a shorter one) and make a decision. An easy way to help make this decision is to make the decision that requires the least amount of risk. In my case, I asked to pivot my role within the organization I was in and was successful. In the end, that was not the right decision for me, but the fact is I was able to make my next decision from a place of better information than I ever could have.

© Mary Ann Linares

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