how to get unstuck from procrastinating thought loops
Are you stuck? Maybe you’re not right now but you have been, right? Sitting in front of a computer screen, or a pen in hand and a blank notebook before you? Or maybe your stuckness was more insidious, keeping yourself endlessly busy on the wrong tasks because you couldn’t make that final decision about the right project?
Analysis Paralysis is that endless thought loop where you try to decide if it’s a good idea or not. You’re unable to make progress and actual move forward to that goal because you’re mentally stuck. Or maybe it’s a good idea but not the right time? But will it make money? Should I just do it anyway? AHHHHHHHHH.
Been there done that, sister.
I think of Analysis Paralysis as a smart person’s problem. Sometimes you just can’t think your way out of an overthinking problem. You have to bust your way out. Here’s how…
My fast track 5 steps to get out of Analysis Paralysis:
- Write that sh*t down.
- Then write it down again with a clear perspective.
- Shelve it for a few days. (or more)
- Talk to smart biz people who have your back. This can be coffee with a friend.
Step 1: Write
Sit down and write down everything that comes to you in a mental data purge. Either analog with a pen and paper or at your computer in a notes app like Evernote or a project management tool such as Asana or Trello. Get it all on paper and out of your mind.
Step 2: Meditate
Sit in purposeful silence and just listen. Listen to meditation music or your breath or the universe. Whatever. Just try to relax and get yourself out of panic mode. Panic causes you to clench and resist while relaxation creates space around ideas and thoughts that were previously all jumbled up together in knots. Breathe and try to let them unfold. (Too woo woo for you? Meditation makes it easier to make decisions. That’s just neuroscience, baby. Read about it here.)
Step 3: Write again
Now that you’ve created some mental space, immediately journal or write down what comes to you. Your subconscious mind has been processing even while meditating. What are the first ideas that come to your mind?
Step 4: Walk Away
If you’re stressed and keeping yourself busy because of that stress, it can lead to hours of endless procrastination, especially when it comes to wasting valuable time online. Set specific times that you should be focused on working and set specific times for rest, recovery, creativity and even boredom. Close the laptop and walk away from this particular idea/project. Let it rest for days or even weeks.
Step 5: Get Social
Ideas love company. Being a homebody is rad, but you can’t keep yourself isolated forever. Meet up with your smart business friend(s) and talk through your idea for external processing and validation. Can your friends/mentors objectively shed light on priorities? I think this is best done in person, but of course, a face-to-face Zoom or Skype call works great! This is when I advocate the coffee meeting!
And those are my 5 steps, my smart procrastinating friend. What about you? Have you been able to consistently “unstuck” yourself from analysis paralysis?