A woman in one of my mastermind groups posed a question recently: Why did she spend all her time doing research and never actually get on with doing the thing she was researching?
She loved looking up information, finding resources, interviewing people, gathering facts. But taking these facts and applying them to her business seemed to always be put on the back burner.
It’s called “analysis paralysis.” The idea is this: if I could just gather this information, if I could just find that fact, if I could make this checklist a bit longer — you get the drift. As a small business coach, I see this my clients get caught in this trap all the time.
The cause is simple: It’s easier for many people to research than to do the action work because gathering research is often a successful task, while acting on the research is fraught with the possibility of failure, stress, or pressure. We stay in the research mode because it’s safe and we get a lot of positive feelings about having uncovered the information we need.
Don’t get me wrong, research is vital. I’ve seen many businesses fail to thrive because they haven’t done the marketing research necessary to see if people want to buy the service or product they want to sell.
The key, as always, is balance. When you find yourself doing more and more research, then you can bet you’re procrastinating on the “doing” side of things. You have two choices:
- Try to figure out why you’re not doing the work, or
- Just do the work.
Either choice is valid, but guess what? Choice 1 is still “research!” 🙂