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How To Overcome Analysis Paralysis and Get Things Done

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 by Pam Norton 5 Comments

Businessman drawing sketchI love being a career coach. Helping my clients bring out the best in themselves, overcome their self-sabotaging behaviors and get clear on what their vision for a successful career looks like so they can create that vision is rewarding in ways I never thought possible.

In addition to the warm-fuzzies I get from supporting others, I often get to help people work through issues that I’m grappling with myself. When I hang up the phone after helping someone identify actions they can take to overcome a limiting belief or self-sabotaging behavior, sometimes I just have to laugh – it’s like holding up a mirror. I have a greeting card that says, take my advice, I’m not using it. So when that happens I grab my pen and journal and do the same work for myself. It’s a humbling experience.

Today I’m grappling with my natural inclination to over-analyze and over-engineer. I have a vision, but I’m stuck when it comes to taking action. This is one of the self-sabotaging behaviors I’ve included in my new free guide, Get Out of Your Own Way to Get What You Want, Identify How You’re Sabotaging Yourself At Work and Take Action to Make Changes. (Download your free copy here or in the yellow box over on the right.)

Overanalyzing and getting stuck in planning mode is a form of procrastination that’s caused by many things including not being comfortable with ambiguity. For me, it’s fear that the results won’t live up to my ambitions and expectations.

I’m preparing to conduct my first webinar to help people re-invigorate their career (snappy title TBD). I’m in deep water.  Setting up the back-end technology, completing all of the tasks to promote the webinar so there’s more than just me on the phone, and, of course, my desire to write the best webinar conducted…by anyone…ever… is having a crippling effect on me.  I want it to be great, but it has to get done!

This is such a common issue for my clients and people I worked with in my corporate career managing large programs. So today I took the advice I share with others. To move past the sticking point, here’s how I’m tackling this challenge:

Get Clear on Your Objectives

I needed to get clear on what I’m trying to accomplish. I outlined my objectives, both my “above the table objectives,” those objectives that I would share with attendees, and my “below the table objectives,” those objectives that I don’t share. Both need to be acknowledged. This is a strategy I’ve used for years when preparing presentations or starting a new project. It’s really square one for everything.

Outline the Plan and Dependencies

I needed to see the whole plan, even if it was scary. Knowing there were lots of things that needed to be done that I didn’t know how to do was keeping me paralyzed. I used to see that all the time with project planning. People would intentionally leave out big activities that they didn’t know how to handle. That usually led to disaster because those activities needed to be done whether they’re in the plan or not. So get everything you can think of out of your head – and your team’s head – onto paper where you can see and deal with it. You can’t accomplish what you don’t acknowledge. So now I’ve got a long list, and I was able to define some dependencies so I know which activities need to be done first.

Identify Resources

Next I broke the plan into smaller pieces and decided what resources I need. I’ve engaged a Virtual Assistant to help me with the technology pieces, and I’m working with a social media coach/consultant who is helping me with the bigger picture and marketing activities.

Do you often find yourself paralyzed by the over-analyzing, over-engineering or over-complicating things that need to get done? Take me my advice and define your objectives, get things out of your head and into a format you can deal with, then identify the resources you need to make it happen. Good luck! And I look forward to telling you more about my webinar in the coming weeks.

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About Pam: As a Career Success Coach, I help individuals and teams tap into their strengths and potential, eliminate self-sabotaging behaviors, think and execute strategically, and get more success and fulfillment from their careers. You can learn more about me at www.transitionsparkcoaching.com. While you’re there, download my free e-book to help you identify and stop self-sabotaging behavior, Get Out of Your Own Way To Get What You Want. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

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5 Responses

  1. John Rasiej says:

    Pam, you’re right always important to get things into action — that’s when you find out if they’re working and if they’re bringing you what you desire. Overanalyzing and trying to make sure every possibility is somehow evaluated can lead to missed opportunities. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Lori Manns says:

    Pam thanks for the reminders. It is very therapeutic to discover you’re giving great advice to others that you should really be utilizing yourself. Guilty as charged. I really like your suggestion of identifying resources. That’s a big step in the right direction of taking action.

  3. laura says:

    Thank you ~ I love the thoughts about dependencies so now with that I’m getting it done from here!!!! :)

  4. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who gets stuck in “preparation mode” and has trouble moving on to execution! When I find myself procrastinating on a project, it usually means that I haven’t broken down the steps finely enough. Your steps for moving past the sticking point are really helpful, Pam.

  5. Great suggestions! There’s that fine balance between over-preparedness and jumping the gun. I was just talking with a client who helps entrepreneurs get over their marketing fears by helping them plan, think ahead and get clear on all the steps they need to take and when. It could be considered over-analyzing, but if it helps get people into action (and out of fear), it can be really helpful.

    But as you said, we don’t want to use preparation as a way to avoid taking action. Good stuff!

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