How to Kick Analysis Paralysis in the Butt


I don’t like starting projects.

There. I said it.

In my mind a project is always perfect. But with so many options available, what will be the right course of action? It’s that transition from the perfect project in my mind to reality that’s tough.

There’s another term for this: Analysis Paralysis.

In fact, if there was a device that could beam my idea right onto the paper, I’d be all over that. Though I would miss the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil.

Some of you may have heard the phrase “Eat the Frog”. That is, do the most difficult task first and get it out of the way. I find this tip works better when it comes to the mundane (yukky) stuff we need to get around to, like doing your taxes and paying your bills.

One thing I’ve discovered over the years is to start on one small, but fun, part of a project. When I was doing graphic design work, sometimes the scope of the project was overwhelming. In that case, I would pick out one small bit that looked enjoyable. It could be an icon, choosing a typeface, or building a moodboard. After working on the fun bit for awhile, I could feel my motivation switch over. Now the project didn’t feel so overwhelming. And working on the small parts often lead to other ideas for the project.

I had the wrong idea about motivation for many years. It would go like this: “Well, I’ll just wait around for inspiration to strike, then I’ll start working”. With that kind of thinking, I’ll be waiting a long time to get anything done. For more thoughts on that, check out this post.

I’m going to suggest NOT eating the frog. Pick out ONE thing in your project that looks the most enjoyable to you, and work on that. Let motivation take over. You’ll probably find your groove. And the frog will get to live another day.