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Analysis Paralysis

Edited: October 15, 2020 (v0.0.8)

There is nothing more exhausting than finding yourself stuck in an infinite loop of analysis: the state of analysis paralysis.

If you’ve found that you or others are paralyzed by analysis, evaluate whether you’re thinking about too much. The cure may be to consider zooming out from your problems. Reason about your domain using a courser granularity. This should let you think about fewer things and make more fundamental decisions, allowing less fundamental decisions to follow or be ruled out entirely.

If you’ve found yourself paralyzed by analysis, evalutate whether you’re choosing between equally good (or bad) options. If you are, the cure may be to revisit or prioritize the constraints that you’re optimizing for to make the decision.

If you’ve found yourself paralyzed by analysis, evaluate whether you’re privy to too much information. Information bias is a cognitive bias to seek information when it does not affect action. People can often make better predictions or choices with less information: more information is not always better. An example of information bias is believing that the more information that can be acquired to make a decision, the better, even if that extra information is irrelevant for the decision. See here.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

Unsticking yourself should become the priority once analysis paralysis is dectected. See some of my other notes about boiling the ocean, diminishing returns, uncertainty, and more, for other encouragement or methods to unstick yourself.