Skip to main content

What Is Decision Paralysis? How Do We Avoid It?

Making choices is an inevitable part of our daily life and having the ability to make a choice for ourselves is a must when it comes to our well-being and overall happiness. However, coming across multiple choices during the decisive process is not necessarily always a good thing. Standing in front of the ice cream aisle, trying to choose from between 20 various ice cream flavors will probably give you a hint of what we are trying to say. Known as decision paralysis or analysis paralysis, this condition may lead to various negative outcomes, be it at work, in our personal life, or in our individual choices.
Decision paralysis is often common when we are forced to choose between alternatives that are hard to compare. Decision paralysis can simply be described as having such a difficult time picking between choices A and B that we end up picking action C: doing nothing at all. It is much tougher to make a choice when the options increase. The amount of energy that is required during the analysis also increases as the complexity or significance of the subject increases, as well. Being faced with the obligation to make a choice may also result in various negative emotions such as fatigue and frustration and lead to a delay in the process. No matter how difficult it may be, making choices is an undeniable part of our daily – and more importantly – work life, which is why it is essential to understand the decision paralysis decision and comprehend what decision paralysis at work may lead to.

What is Decision Paralysis?

Regardless of the decision paralysis meaning we are about to unravel, you have probably already experienced a type of decision paralysis throughout your adult life without even knowing it; be it a huge decision that will affect your personal life or a task on your lengthy to-do list. Even a simple dinner choice that is supposed to result in a cuisine choice can turn into a head-scratcher at times. So what is decision paralysis, and how are we supposed to avoid it? Decision paralysis can be defined as the lack of ability to decide out of fear of making the wrong choice. Decision paralysis, often referred to as analysis paralysis, can occur when an individual is presented with too many choices that are usually difficult to parallel. The individual then effectively paralyzes himself from making progress instead of overcoming the overwhelming situation and landing on one of the options. Even when the individual can finally decide, battling decision paralysis can often lead to mental exhaustion and prevent him from following through with the action that the choice brings. It is known that the average person makes around 35,000 decisions every single day. Although freedom of choice is generally celebrated and positive, some experts argue that the modern “Paradox of Choice” has left people to feel more dissatisfied and paralyzed rather than liberated and content.
Another factor to be considered when analyzing this paradox of choice is undoubtedly the Covid-19 pandemic, as it significantly deprived the issue by fuelling feelings of uncertainty and stress levels. A survey conducted in 2021 has exposed that 32% of the surveyed adults feel so overwhelmed by the idea of making a choice that they start to struggle making some of the most basic decisions such as what to wear or what to eat. The increasing workload is no saint as well when it comes to contributing adversely to the matter. The more overwhelming it can become to decide within the limited amount of time the individual is granted, as his schedule gets busier and busier by the day. While their task lists grow in “choices” and “options,” the risk of becoming paralyzed decision-wise also increases. In spite of pursuing the sake of productivity, trying to land on the ideal decisions amongst a variety of options definitely puts a lot of strain on the person’s well-being. This is exactly where prioritizing time comes in and aims to help the individual construct a realistic schedule that supports his goals and lets him get more done in less time – though it is worth noting that this is often easier said than done.

What Causes Decision Paralysis?

So what causes decision paralysis in the first place? Decision paralysis regarding too many choices can leave you feeling exceedingly overwhelmed and inescapably confused. In an effort to make an excogitated decision, you might generally consider various viewpoints of the subject, its pros and cons, possible results, detailed information on the matter, and even other people’s opinions. All of this can create a massive sense of confusion and naturally ward you off from making the ultimate decision.
As you become more and more confused within this process, you will most likely feel as though you are caught in a whirlwind of thoughts, opinions, and alternatives, leaving you focused on the current feeling of making a clear and confident decision being impossible. These decision paralysis examples may stop you from moving forward and keep you tossing around in this hurricane of thoughts. At this point, the only thing that will help you is learning the methods of overcoming decision paralysis and actually making a decision.

How Can We Prevent Decision Paralysis?

To stop overanalyzing your decisions and to begin creating new patterns, follow these three simple steps on how to overcome decision paralysis:
1. Pause, take a small break, and ask the single one important question regarding the issue: Recent studies have shown that even a few milliseconds of pausing before making a decision can drastically change the outcome. Putting off the initiation process by 50-100 milliseconds makes it possible for the brain to concentrate on the most related information while blocking out far-out distractors.
2. Narrow your choices down (or increase) to three: We usually mistakenly frame decisions in binary terms. However, this count usually falls short of reflecting the realities of decisions. Again, studies show that work is three times more likely to be labeled as “important” when someone adds or removes a few elements. Processes such as a decision-making process often include multiple tasks, products, and services consist of a host of elements that can be altered, and they are not a “one-and-done” activity but rather an ongoing operation that must incorporate adaptation along the way. Try to look at the powerful solution as a collection of elements that can be combined in various ways rather than a single, rigid choice.
3. Talk to people outside of your usual circle: Even though decision-making is a team sport, sometimes people fall short of reaching out beyond their first-degree teammates in order to talk through a certain decision before making it. Having skipped this valuable step, they then wonder why their decision lacks innovation, an out-of-the-common point of view, or a visionary aspect. One of the smartest ways for leaders to encourage better decision-making is to present their team members with the following question: “Who have you talked to about this decision?” This provides an excellent teaching opportunity to assist a team member in identifying multiple people to talk to so that they can gain new and distinctive perspectives.
We should probably come to terms with the fact that we will – no matter how much we avoid it – find ourselves paralyzed while deciding from time to time. The best way to get through this pickle is to recognize what is happening, give yourself permission to be flexible, remind yourself that you are capable, and limit your forecast in order to stay present and make. that. decision.
Use Huudle for all of your decision-making and planning processes, and forget about decision paralysis once and for all!