There are times when we get stuck in a project or a task and are not sure how to get ourselves over the hump. Today we will look at three causes of paralysis and how we can simplify to overcome them.
Future Thought Prohibits Present Action
As business people, Allison and Jim spend large chunks of time planning and strategizing, but because we are also improvisers, we recognize when our future thought is prohibiting our present action. Mindfulness and self-awareness can help us to sense when we need to shift into a hard focus on what is happening in the present and what levers need pulling to help move the needle in this very moment.
Sometimes we can spend so much time thinking about all of the aspects of the work we are doing that we end up freezing up and not doing the actual work.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the phrase “Paradox of Choice” to describe his consistent findings that, while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.
Rather than empowering us to make better choices, our virtually unlimited access to information often leads to greater fear of making the wrong decision, which in turn leads to us spinning our wheels in a seemingly inescapable purgatory of analysis paralysis, all the while getting nowhere on our important projects. – Todoist blog.
Sunken Cost Fallacy
Sometimes we trick ourselves into continuing on a project or task simply because we have already put money and effort into it. We put pressure on the project itself to meet a potentially unrealistic benchmark when instead it should either just be accepted or should be discarded entirely.
Imagine you go see a movie which costs $10 for a ticket. When you open your wallet or purse you realize you’ve lost a $10 bill. Would you still buy a ticket? You probably would. Only 12 percent of subjects said they wouldn’t. Now, imagine you go to see the movie and pay $10 for a ticket, but right before you hand it over to get inside you realize you’ve lost it. Would you go back and buy another ticket? Maybe, but it would hurt a lot more. In the experiment, 54 percent of people said they would not. The situation is the exact same. You lose $10 and then must pay $10 to see the movie, but the second scenario feels different. It seems as if the money was assigned to a specific purpose and then lost, and loss sucks. – You Are Not So Smart.
New Focus: The Next Right Thing
In order to avoid too much future thought, analysis paralysis, and sunken cost fallacy, we can focus on choosing the next right action and just doing it. Restoring our forward momentum by moving into action can be all it takes to break out of a frozen state. What is one thing that I can do next that will result in a better final product without question? What action can I take that I do not need to think about, get approval on, or find supporting documentation about? Let’s start that one action and see ourselves begin forward movement and leave paralysis behind.
What is your next right thing?