Hello and welcome to this SPECIAL INBETWEENISODE of Film Pro Productivity, the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 33 – CHOICE PARALYSIS
Steve Jobs once said “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. Unquote
One thing that is particularly true of many creative projects is that they don’t work to a known blueprint. We find ourselves often overwhelmed by the myriad of choices we could make to turn our dreams into reality. We find ourselves often overthinking our options or decisions about our careers or our finances. Have you ever spent so long thinking about a decision that by the time you make it, the opportunity has passed you by? That is what we will be talking about today.
Prioritizing which I spoke about way back in episode 10 is an essential skill if you are working towards being more productive, but several times recently I have found myself in a situation of ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. That is the state of over-thinking about a decision to the point that a choice NEVER gets made.
Have you faced analysis paralysis before? Do you tend to overthink your choices, to the point where you feel paralyzed and don’t make a decision? If you recognise this in yourself then listen up as this week I’ll be talking about how to overcome it.
I have been floundering a bit with this issue in recent weeks on how best to move forward with the show.
Season 2 and its subsequent promotion was immensely time-consuming for me you see and I have a real feeling of apprehension in moving forward as the commitment of time and mental energy which this podcast requires is significant.
Toiling with the uncertainty as to whether this show is worthwhile has undermined my confidence and with that wooliness of thought, I’ve been struggling with how to proceed. In my choice paralysis. I have been digesting and deliberating all of my options:
- Should run a crowd funder to pay for the second year of hosting or just bite the bullet and pay for it all myself. It would be a lot less bother and would mean that I could really get into season 3 instead of toiling over inbetweenisodes like this one and the substantial work that’s involved in crowdfunding. What if no one gives any money? Then I’ll have wasted even more time on stuff that doesn’t further the show. If it does work though it will save me a few quid and the campaign in itself will promote the show.
- I’ve also been considering how I can reach the people, creatives and film pros who will actually want to engage with and benefit from the show... I’m thinking about whether I should push the show onto Youtube too – to try and reach a bigger audience. The social media conversion of followers to actual listeners or subscribers is absolutely garbage at about 1% so I don’t want to spend quite as much time on it as I did last season - but by converting it to YouTube I’m creating another huge pool of work form myself. Many podcast gurus say podcasts shouldn’t go on YouTube as it waters down the potential subscriber list on podcasting apps but they also say promote where the audience is and I have a feeling I’ll find you there.
- Next, I have struggled with episode lengths and format choices, even trialling a mini-episode length which caused further confusion for me if I’m honest but which I’ll likely roll out in some form for a few episodes of season 3.
- Beyond that, I’ve also found difficulty with the most basic of podcast elements like deciding on what I am actually going to talk about. At the moment I have so many topics on my board that if I had the time I could create 2 new seasons but with bills to pay and other creative projects and business projects on my mind, I also need to keep earning money…
- There’s also a voice in my head that says quite often - you don’t have time for this - If you don’t create a new season you could work on your imminent business affairs, on promoting my fight direction work, on writing the first draft of a screenplay, on selling old kit on eBay to raise additional funds and the list goes on.
You get the point - I’ve been getting distracted again and again and again and I’ve been paralysed by the choices before me.
Choice or *Analysis paralysis is the state of over-thinking about a decision to the point that a choice never gets made. You face analysis paralysis when you…
- Are overwhelmed by the available options,
- Over-complicate the decision when it’s supposed to be quite a simple one,
- Feel compelled to pick the “best” and “perfect” choice, thereby delaying any decision until you do your research, or
- You feel a deep fear of making a wrong move, hence stalling yourself from making any decision, in case you make the wrong choice.
If you want to learn more about simply prioritizing things then please listen back to episode 10, but if you are paralysed in any of the ways listed here, then listen on.
Celestine Chua presents 8 tips for dealing with Choice Paralysis on personalexcellence.co which I’ll link to in the show notes. Here are a few pieces of advice from that article:
- Differentiate between big and small decisions. If the decision isn’t going to make a big difference a year from now and there are no serious consequences that will come out of it, then it is a small decision. Spend as little time as you need to nail this. Then, let go.
If however, the decision will create major impact after a year and there are serious implications from making the wrong choice (such as marrying someone you don’t love), then it’s a big decision.
For everything in between, give it some thought but don’t let it drag on for too long.
- Identify your objective. Every option has its pros and cons. Without knowing your end objective, you’ll forever be debating the relative pros and cons of each choice without a meaningful conclusion.
- Perfection is not the key. “Moderately okay” is. Unless you are dealing with a life-altering decision like who to marry and what career path to choose, perfection is not the key. Your goal is to pick a moderately “okay” choice in a fair amount of time, and then move on. Please listen back to my episode on perfectionism (episode 5) for more advice on this.
- Eliminate the bad options. When you have too many options, it clutters the decision-making process so list all the available options. Then, eliminate the bad ones.
- Get a trusted opinion. Consult someone with insight into what you’re asking about. Get expert advice from specialists who know what they are doing. It helps cut through the noise, get the information I need, and make the right choice. And this si something I find myself doing more and more these days, despite my frugal upbringing, pay and get expert advice from specialists who know what they are doing.
- Channel your energy into bigger goals, If you often face analysis paralysis with little decisions, here is my question to you: What are your goals for the next few years? Is there any goal you are procrastinating on? Work on them instead. As you shift your focus to the higher-level goals, you gain more experience and become better at making good decisions quickly.
Nelson Mandela said “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
I quote this as before I could deal with my difficulty in choices I had to deal with the uncertainty of purpose which has been undermining my drive. I’ve revisited my reasons for doing this show and recommitted to them. Even if this show just helps one person out there and makes their life better as a result, then I believe it is worthwhile.
Denis Waitley said “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”
With that in mind, I moved forward to solve my choice paralysis.
I need to work towards summing up on this episode and with that, I’ll remind you once more of Parkinson’s law – and it’s something that Celestine lists too. The law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” so your work will take however long you allow it to take.
If you set aside 15 minutes for a task, it’ll take 15 minutes. If you set aside 30 minutes, it’ll take 30 minutes. If you don’t set a time limit, it may take forever!
A time limit alone could help you to make a decision if you are ever stuck in choice paralysis.
Call To Action
Your call to action today is to tackle something which has been stuck in a limbo of choice. Use Celestine’s tips to tackle the problem and move past it.
This is the second of 2 special episodes which I’ve put together to promote the IndieGoGo campaign to raise £500 to pay for the hosting packages and some marketing for year two of this podcast. Please help by spreading the word on social media or by buying one of the perks which include the opportunity to sponsor future shows. You can find the link to the campaign in the show notes and I’d be eternally grateful for your help.
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
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