5 Principles For Beating Analysis Paralysis
Bewildered subscriber Aziz writes:
Josh, I am asking you for the last time (for the day)
How do you constantly keep on coming up with mini meaningful and actionable advice almost daily?
I have been drowning in analysis paralysis and you keep on cranking things out.
Unfortunately I am no stranger to Mr. Analysis Paralysis myself.
I love me some data, AND I have perfectionistic tendencies.
So I find it pretty easy to get sucked into a cycle of data collection, study, and “optimizing” that grinds my productivity to a halt.
I don’t have a “silver bullet” here—but here are 5 principles that have helped me, as well as ONE concrete action step that can help get you moving when it comes to writing emails:
When I have a goal that’s important to me, I try to break it down into a behavior I can do every single day.
It’s 10X easier for me to write one email every single day than to “batch” them up and do 5 on Monday, or to write one longer blog post per week.
2. Since I’m writing every day, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
I never have to struggle to come up with topics to write about. I keep a running list and I just pick one that I feel like writing about.
This is critical, because when you’re in the “idea zone” you’ll find that great topics, stories, and analogies just pop into your head.
3. Accountability works.
I really struggled with writing one longer blog post per week, because nobody notices if you don’t publish.
With these emails, I have subscribers who expect to hear from me every day.
4. I read a lot. Reading books, both in and out of your field, is a great source of inspiration.
I’m always encountering new ideas and looking for ways to relate them to my current worldview and experience.
This is where a lot of interesting insights come from.
5. I’m an active practitioner, not a theorizer.
This is *really* important to me—call it part of my “personal values.”
In the marketing field especially there are a lot of people who just sit around and write things that sound good, and then never get their hands dirty.
I have ZERO respect or tolerance for that. When people look up to you as an expert, you have a sacred trust to give them the best information you can.
Usually the only information worth sharing is that which is gained from hard personal experience.
When you’re practicing your craft and learning every day, it’s pretty easy to find a few nuggets of insight worth sharing.
That’s all a bit abstract.
Here’s something really practical you can do today:
Pick a topic that the majority of your list would find interesting.
Then write a quick email to your list (just 50-100 words) asking them to reply with their questions about the topic.
And here’s the critical part:
Tell them you’ll pick 4-5 of the best questions and answer them over the next several days.
Depending on the size of your list, you’ll get at least a half dozen questions.
Now—just start answering the questions.
If you come up with some crazy or fun analogy, great, use it.
If it’s just a straightforward, factual reply, that’s fine too.
The key here is to get some MOMENTUM.
When it comes to beating analysis paralysis, that’s the best weapon I know of.