Have you ever suffered from analysis paralysis?
Or perhaps you are an action taker, but often find yourself stopping in the middle of a project, feeling like it’s not quite good enough to release for people to see?
Are you your own worst critic?
Have you ever done something, almost to completion, just to start over from scratch again because you weren’t happy with it?
Well, I’m here with my hand raised on this one as well. And today I want to share with you some ideas to help you move through your analysis paralysis.
Let’s start by looking at a few examples of where people often locked up in their own prison of perfection.
- Designing a Self-Branded Website or Blog
- Shooting a Video for YouTube
- Writing Your First Book
- Making an Investment in a Business Opportunity
These are all very different tasks, yet they all have one big thing in common.
These are all scenarios where the public is going to see YOU in a certain light.
In each of these scenarios you will be JUDGED by others.
This emotion surrounding this potential judgement is often enough to freeze someone dead in their tracks.
And since we all have different personality types, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to help you overcome your perfectionism.
However, I’ve been right where you are. I can fully relate. And I can offer some personal feedback that has helped me greatly.
1. MAKE YOUR PROJECTS FUN
I remember when I was in grade school I used to HATE homework. Yes, that’s a strong word. But it’s truly how I felt about it. I’m not even sure why. I just hated it.
There was a few months that my dad homeschooled me as I transitioned schools, and during that timeframe he gave me a huge project to study, along with homework. But this time it was very different.
He let ME choose my project. It could be on any topic I wanted. I was to study the topic, then write a full report, and draw a killer picture to go along with it, and then type it all out.
You see, at a young age I didn’t like being put in a box. I didn’t like being told what to do. But when it came to choosing my own projects, suddenly it became FUN. And I couldn’t wait to get started on it the next day!
Every project is different. So you will need to figure this one out on a case-by-case basis. And keep in mind that the word FUN could be replaced with the word PASSION. If you are passionate about the project, it has the same effect.
2. BREAK YOUR PROJECTS DOWN INTO SMALL GOALS
Back in 2010 I started writing my first book. But guess what. I never finished.
I would get super motivated and write a ton of stuff, but then I would re-read over it and not like any of it. I would find myself ONLY giving it a negative critique. Feeling like it didn’t flow, or that people wouldn’t pay for it, or that I was just wasting my time.
Why does our mind drift so easily to the negative? Why are we our own worst critics?
Part of the problem is that the project was MASSIVE. Writing an entire book, filled with numerous chapters, and tons of re-writes, can take weeks, months, even years!
When we give ourselves projects that big, it’s easy to procrastinate. It’s easy to feel like we are never “close” to being finished.
And that’s what makes it easy to give up without even realizing that we gave up. Time just goes by. And we find ourselves busy with new projects.
Can you relate?
Well, there is a solution for this.
If you take your project, and figure out a way to break it down into smaller project goals, it makes each goal more achievable.
For example, instead of having a goal of writing your first book, it might be wise to set a goal of writing your first outline. Or your first table of contents. Or your first small story. Or your first brainstorm.
Basically, is there something that you are CONFIDENT that you can already do?
Start with the things that you are most likely to accomplish quickly and without analysis paralysis. Usually, it’s the thing that got you motivated to begin the project in the first place.
In the book example, maybe you are GREAT at telling stories of things that happened in your life. And one day you decided that you wanted to write a book to share these stories.
Well, one way to make that book a reality is to form small, fun, bite-sized goals that move the project forward.
What is FUN for you? Do you love the brainstorming process? Do you love coming up with ideas? Start with that.
Rather than just start writing, which is what most people do (until they hit writers block), it might be a better idea to come up with the entire outline of the book first, and then write section by section.
For example, you could start by brainstorming real stories and experiences you have had in your life. Come up with descriptive titles for each of them, and perhaps just a couple of bullet points for each one.
Then, have fun brainstorming what “message” can be learned from each of those stories. What “parable” can be told? What point can be made from each of those stories.
STORY > LESSON
After a good brainstorming session, you might have 10 life experiences and 10 lessons learned from each one.
Then, you could have another brainstorming session where you come up with 10 TITLES of chapters for each lesson.
Now you have an outline for your book coming together, prior to ever sitting down to actually write it.
You could brainstorm a book title based on those 10 chapters, as well as an idea for an intro/outro.
The purpose behind this brainstorming is to help you have CLARITY about your project in advance, before you start the emotional part, which in this case is the WRITING.
The more structured your outline is, the easier it will be to complete the overall task (in my opinion).
Now, you can tackle your book writing project one chapter at a time. Now it’s time to just let your hands type away (or pen & paper if that’s your style).
There is no time lost in the day on this task, because when you sit down to write your book, you simply choose a chapter, in any order, and start creating content for that section.
3. MAKE YOUR PROJECTS DYNAMIC, NOT STATIC
We often get carried away thinking that our projects need to be perfect before they launch. That they have to be complete. That they must have every little detail figured out in advance before anyone can ever see it.
While this might work for companies like Apple or Microsoft, you should be cautious about the negative affects this could have on you as an entrepreneur.
When you allow your project to be an ever-improving, ever-growing dynamic project, it gives you the freedom to “launch” it in an earlier state than you ever would have considered.
For example, let’s say that you want to have your own personally branded website or blog.
I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs get hung up on this, for months, even for years.
They are overly concerned and overly protective of their brand, to the point that they never release it to the public, and this is a true example of analysis paralysis.
So, to help overcome this, I encourage you to think of your blog or website as a “dynamic” project, not a static project.
Meaning that as soon as you launch it, you will change it again anyways. And then again. And then again.
This will help you to not get so hung up on the first version of your website. Or even the 2nd. Because you are allowing yourself the freedom to launch something, and the freedom to change it again as soon as you wish.
The goal in this step is to take away the pressure. To relieve yourself of the perfection that you think is required in order to launch your website.
I remember when I first wanted to launch my own personally-branded blog I actually created a bookmarked folder of 100+ blogs that I loved that I found on the web.
My goal was to narrow it down to one of these blogs to model after and then have a designer create my own amazing custom blog.
But then I got hung up and couldn’t decide which one I liked best! And then I decided that I needed professional photos first before I had my blog designed, so that it could look even better, and the list kept going and going.
Needless to say, the blog didn’t get launched.
It’s crazy how our minds work like that. How they can take a simple task and make it so difficult.
So, the solution here is to allow your project to be launched in phases, as a dynamic project, not a static one.
For example, if you want professional photos done, and you want those photos edited and used in your blog header, then allow that to be a phase 2 or phase 3 update.
If you require that task to be done in order to launch your website or blog, then you run a huge risk of delaying the entire project based on that.
And the truth is, that you would likely end up changing those pictures again in the near future anyways!
So how could this task become dynamic, and broken into smaller bite-sized tasks?
Break it into phases, where the first phase is the SIMPLEST.
For instance, perhaps your phase 1 project is to simply buy a domain, have wordpress installed on it, have a theme installed on it, and write your first blog post.
On sites like oDesk and Fiverr you could have that all done in a few days for less than $100.
And your first blog post could be something a little bigger than a Facebook status update. Don’t go too hard on yourself.
Now you have your project LIVE on the web, and it’s dynamic, and has the freedom and flexibility to continue to grow and change over time.
Phase 2 might be to add advertising banners to your sidebar of your blog, or add an email opt-in form to get subscribers.
Yes, that can be an entire phase!
Because the goal is to actually get stuff LIVE and PUBLISHED on the web, where you are more likely to actually continue the project, and most importantly to complete the project!
This allows you to get some user feedback. Have friends give you ideas for little things to improve.
Now you might come across another website and see something cool, like a Facebook share button, and now you can easily add that ONE item to your own website as a smaller task.
If all those things had to be figured out in advance, they would likely never get done, because of the prison of perfection that we put ourselves into.
The point in this step is to simply make your projects DYNAMIC where you launch them and work on them in a LIVE environment. This public accountability will help you see your project through to completion.
4. CREATE MINI-DEADLINES FOR YOUR PROJECT
I’ve been in the home based business industry for well over a decade. And during that time I’ve watched thousands of new home based business owners set goals that were far too unrealistic given their current situation, and then fall extremely short of ever achieving them.
Now, before I go further, I must admit that I am a HUGE FAN of setting big goals. I love stretching the mind. I love thinking 10X bigger because it causes us to think and work outside of the box in order to achieve them.
That being said, the problem is when you don’t create little mini-goals and mini-deadlines along the way to achieve the 10X results.
Let’s say your goal was to join a business opportunity and make $10,000/mo.
Well, for the most part that’s just wishful thinking.
If it were really that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?
That’s why those opportunities always feel like scams. Because someone joins, who has never had results even remotely close to that, and the next thing you know they are telling all their friends and family about how they are going to get rich quick.
I’ve seen it a thousand times.
Am I saying that it’s not possible to achieve $10,000/mo? Or $100,000/mo?
Of course not. I’ve watched average people create results like this over and over again.
But there is something that I’ve found in common between entrepreneurs who actually create these results.
They set a big goal they want to achieve, but then set tons of mini-goals to achieve along the way.
And more importantly, they set DEADLINES to each of those mini-goals.
For example, if your goal was to make $10,000/mo in your company, the first thing you would need to do is research exactly what your business would need to look like in order to realistically achieve that goal.
And then research what Income Producing Activities (IPA’s) would be required in order to get your business to look like that.
What I’m getting at here is to actually treat your business like a business!
Rather than wishful thinking, turn your goals into realistic achievements with realistic deadlines.
In order to make $10,000 you first need to make $1,000. In order to make $1,000 you first need to make $100. In order to make $100, you need your first sale. In order to make your first sale, you need your first lead. In order to get your first lead, you need your first website visitor. Do you see where I’m going here?
When you reverse-engineer your goal, all the way down to the simplest tasks that are the foundation to get you there, then you now have a plan of action to get you there.
And the most important part is setting deadlines for these mini-goals.
Personally, I like to break my mini-goals down into daily tasks. I find them easier to stay on top of that way.
If you are in a sales business, then you might have a goal of “pitching” your products or services to a certain amount of people each day.
Let’s say you set a goal to present your pitch to 5 people per day. If you did that 5 days per week that would be 25 pitches per week. That would be roughly 100 pitches per month. Which is well over 1,000 pitches per year if you were consistent.
So, ask yourself, if you pitched your products or services 1,000 times this year, what would the forecasted results be? Would you likely hit your goal?
When I was first getting started in the home based business industry, I would watch my peers suffer from a huge “learning curve” where they would attend every Tuesday night meeting and every monthly super saturday training that we did.
They were GREAT at learning, but were not so good at income producing activities.
This is another version of analysis paralysis.
I was fortunate to have an older brother who was in sales at the time, who I consulted with, and he taught me that it’s a numbers game.
He would make 100 prospecting calls each day, and would focus on keeping his pipeline full at all times.
I applied that same logic to my home based business, and here were the goals that I set.
BIG GOAL: 200 Business Plan Presentations
MONTHLY GOAL: 30 Business Plan Presentations
DAILY GOAL: 1 Business Plan Presentation (No Matter What)
Now, keep in mind this was before I started building my business on the internet. Now it’s much easier to play higher number games. These goals were set back when I would physically sit down with someone at a coffee shop and present my business opportunity to them.
Years later, as I look back on this, the only thing I would change is the number of daily presentations. At the time I felt like 30 per month was a high number because I was COMPARING to the other people on my “team” in my local area.
Only a couple of people ever showed 30 presentations per month so I was the top of my league. Locally.
Had I devised a plan to show 10 presentations per DAY instead, then I would have potentially achieved 10x the results in a much faster time frame.
But, the point of this story is that I ended up recruiting a MASSIVE organization back then by setting consistent daily goals that I stuck to no matter what.
If it was 9pm at night and I hadn’t shown the business plan to someone, I would literally start prospecting anyone within 3 feet of me, asking if they had just 10 minutes to spare so that I could run my business plan past them.
Was it effective? No. I doubt any of those people joined.
But your missing the point if you think that’s what this story is about. It was about MY ACCOUNTABILITY of accomplishing my daily goals, which added up to my bigger monthly goals, which ultimately resulted in me building a huge organization in that company.
It was about taking a huge unrealistic goal and making it realistic by breaking it down into much smaller, more achievable daily and monthly goals.
Now, this will be different for everyone, but for me it created a habit early on of Taking Massive Action, that when applied to a few big projects years later, would eventually result in millions of dollars earned.
Whether you are building your own home based business, or writing your first book, or launching your own self-branded website, I hope that this post has been helpful in giving you some ideas to overcome analysis paralysis.
To summarize, here are some important steps to help you take more immediate action, and get more projects DONE!
— Make your projects fun
— Make your projects dynamic
— Create mini-goals and deadlines
— Create an outline in advance
— Start with what you are best at
— Drink coffee. Lots of coffee
I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I hope it was worth the TIME you invested into reading it.