For the past two days, analysis paralysis weighed me down.
Each day, I sat down, wrote a list of to-dos, and stared until the words lost meaning. My mind sifted through a mess of options like disconnected puzzle pieces scattered on the ground.
I tried prioritizing.
But priorities weren’t clear for complex work. Even tasks with deadlines had information missing. What seemed like the obvious next step (writing a first draft or scheduling an event) required knowledge or time doing something else. Like research or taking a class.
I waffled with a spark of writing inspiration.
Should it should be a book or a blog? Blog or book? I knew ultimately it didn’t matter–the blog could easily become a book, and vice versa–but my mind was dead set on racing back and forth like a puppy exploring yummy scents on a trail.
I questioned whether I needed outside help.
Yet learning something new or seeking extra opinions would increase my existing information overload.
Can you relate?
I’ve seen analysis paralysis often in clients who are spinning in many great ideas. Wanting to be thorough with a plan. Having all the knowledge before moving forward.
Yet trying to fit a new creative idea into a box can be like trying to decide on what colleges a newborn should apply to.
It’s great to be conscientious and strive to be the best you can be.
And, imperfection is okay. Imperfection is necessary for progress.
Needing to take the “right” actions is a mental trap that leads to overwhelm.
You can use self-awareness to shift into a state of calm inspiration.
When you know yourself, you understand your patterns and operating mechanisms.
The better you know yourself, the quicker you get at calling yourself out. You’ll recognize the simpler issues causing the mental chaos.
Instead of learning how to do something from external sources (especially when your tasks require creativity and one size doesn’t fit all!), when you’re able to listen to your own body cues and soul whispers, the guidance you receive is apt for your current state. Not the person you were two years ago or who you wish to be in the future.
Now is where satisfaction and creative flow lives.
When you’re writing, sometimes you need to research, plan, or prioritize your projects. And sometimes you just need to write one page, focusing on a successful process to take you to your desired destination one step at a time.
As is my method, I turned to writing–and you can too.
When I was in analysis paralysis, I wrote out my stuck spots. As I journaled, I paid attention to my body sensations. I started off by noticing that my “priority” stumped me. My pen strokes were messy, shaky, and light on the page. My mind felt overwhelmed, body heavy.
As I kept writing what I thought I needed, I noticed where I felt more open, expansive, and inspired.
Here, my penmanship was bolder, neater, and more confident. It felt right.
The sensations in my body and the sure letters forming on the page informed my answers.
I didn’t really need external guidance to choose the best step forward. I just needed a baby step of inspired action.
What I discovered during my 10-minute self-exploration session.
On this day, rather than prioritizing, I needed to break down my tasks into the quickest and easiest to begin. Versus the most effortful. Getting into the state of knocking out the little things would energize me to tackle the bigger ones.
Ultimately, it was about using my systems for getting into the state of taking mini-actions to set off momentum.
I hope this story inspires you when you’re stuck in analysis paralysis.
If you’re struggling to get out of your head, I’m happy to offer tools and guidance for connecting with your inner wisdom to create a satisfying creative life. Please reach out. If you have a friend or two with similar struggles, please share and invite them to sign up to receive these articles.
P.S. By recognizing perfectionism and taking one baby step, I found myself in productive flow. I also realized the “priority” wasn’t really a priority at all. All resulting from under 20 minutes of introspection.
You can find inspired action too. Feel free to respond and let me know your baby step.