I am so guilty of Analysis Paralysis.
One of my favorite blogs, http://decor8blog.com, featured a post today about what to do when you start to over think a task and you end up with Analysis Paralysis.
According to Wiktionary, the definition is “Analysis Paralysis” is “the condition of being unable to make a decision due to the availability of too much information which must be processed in order for the decision to be made.”
I cannot even count the number of times this has happened to me, mostly surrounding craft projects. Until recently, I could barely scrapbook for fear of “ruining” the pages with an ugly layout or poor thought out stamp placement. I used to scour Michael’s for lovely papers and stamps and kits of all kinds, only to get so overloaded thinking through the project that I could not even begin. The end result is the three large blue tubs of crafting projects making their home in our office closet.
Only recently have I begun to stop reading about scrapbooking, thinking about scrapbooking, purchasing the entire aisle of products from the Martha Stewart Crafts line at Michael’s and actually begun to – get this – make a scrapbook. One day I just got tired of plotting and thinking and over analyzing something so silly as cutting out pictures and mementos and slapping some glue on them and sticking them to a page that I just did it. I sat down and just began to cut. And cut I did until I produced several beautifully scrapbooked pages of our honeymoon. And it was so easy. No thinking, just cutting and arranging.
Since I know I can always order as many cheap prints off of Winkflash.com, I did not worry about making a mistake and accidently decapitating someone in the photo because I can point, click, and ship a new set to my door in no time (and for not much money).
Sometimes I fall into the Analysis Paralysis game with baking. I get on Allrecipes.com and search for a cupcake recipe. I like to sort them by the highest rated to find a recipe that seems to be a hit. Once I find something, I decide to read the comments – and there can be some 100+ comments. And everyone acts like they have some super hint that truly makes this recipe even better than the original. Well, how can I pass that up? So, instead of just picking something and being done with it, I end up reading pages upon pages of comments with ideas to improve the recipe, some of which are contradictory, and then I fall into a complete informational overload. Often, the end result is no delicious cupcakes.
The worst thing about Analysis Paralysis, for me, is that it fakes me into thinking I am making progress. I think I am being good, trying to research and ferret out the best course. But, in the end, I get nowhere. Or even backwards.
How is it that I am so good at avoiding Analysis Paralysis for so many other things but get stumped with trying to be creative?
For example, I have absolutely no Analysis Paralysis when it comes to shopping, especially for clothes. I know exactly what looks good on me (and, most importantly, what does not!), so I enter a store, I know what to get, and I do not get fazed by all of the choices. Even with a closet full of stuff (and therefore more choices than I probably need), I can manage to find a good combination without much time.
At work, I do not screw around too long trying to decide what to do; I take a gut check and go with an action that makes the most sense. My goal is to be efficient, so it does not allow much time for hemming and hawing.
Clearly, I need to apply my “just do it” attitude I have at work and with shopping to my creative side. I see that I get so caught up with how I can make my craft look like it came out of the pages of Martha Stewart Living that I cannot even take the craft out of the packaging. Pathetic.
So, perhaps I will use this weekend, one in which I do not have to work, to attempt to be creative without over analyzing how my end product should look. Watch out, Martha