analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis refers to the angst and overthinking that often happens when you’re unable to make a decision. It’s the excessive consideration of options, the influx of new information and the inability to make a decision when presented with numerous choices (all of which sound good, feasible and correct!)

We all make decisions at every point in our day – wake up or sleep in, go on vacation or spearhead a new project, say hello to a stranger or walk on by. As leaders, we are responsible for making decisions that can have a direct effect on our careers and others’ livelihoods. The pressure can be downright exhausting, but decisions must be made.

3 questions should come to mind when we’re faced with a decision:

  1. Am I the right person?
  2. Is this the right time?
  3. Do I have enough information to make an informed decision?

If the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” but you’re experiencing analysis paralysis, consider the following reminders to help make the decision:


Planning is not doing. At a certain point, you must stop consuming and start taking action on what you know.

Time management

Assign time ratios to your research or planning phase and action phase. Don’t spend 90% of your time reviewing resources and only 10% getting the job done. Allocate no more than 20% of your time to planning.


Nothing is perfect. Seek effective decisions over perfect ones.


Which decision is most in alignment with the end-goal or mission? Go with that one.


Which decision will be of most service to the team as a whole? Move forward with that one.


Make a habit of writing regular journal entries. Document your decisions. As you reflect on your ability to make decisions, it might help you trust your judgment moving forward.


Surround yourself with the people you aspire to be like – decision makers.

Say it out loud

Sometimes hearing your choices out loud can quickly rule out your worst options.


Accept that there is a possibility of failure. As Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors once said, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

Heads or tails

Sometimes there are no obvious good options. Try to minimize damage but remember; when one door closes, another will eventually open. Flip a coin and get on with it.

Several factors contribute to analysis paralysis: information overload, fear of marking the wrong choice, perfectionism and a lack of confidence. Overcoming this paralysis involves breaking down the decision-making process and trusting that you can handle the outcome.

When you know you’re the right person at the right time with enough information to decide – make the decision.

Want to hear more about maximizing performance and leadership? Hire Art as a speaker for your next event or as an executive mentor.

Share Post
Art Jackson, Professional Speaker, Executive Coach

Art Jackson

Art Jackson is a professional speaker and executive coach. He is a recognized expert in the areas of leadership, performance improvement and interpersonal skills.

Stay in the loop

Subscribe to our free newsletter.