Analysis Paralysis

Did you ever spend so much time researching different options that you were too overwhelmed to make a decision? I call this Analysis Paralysis.

I pride myself on my thoroughness and am grateful to have the internet at my fingertips to provide me with endless sources of input on even the most trivial of decisions. However, I end up over-researching certain topics because so much information is available.

I first thought of writing about Analysis Paralysis almost a year ago, right before we got our dog Alfie. He would be our first dog that required regular grooming. This is a very dog-friendly neighborhood so there are many choices. I contacted friends and neighbors to find out where they groomed their dogs, then I followed up by reading reviews on the internet. By the time we got our dog, I was mired in indecision.

We got him on a Saturday afternoon, and I decided that he needed an immediate groom because he was so shaggy. On Sunday morning, I started making phone calls to see who had an opening that day. Nobody did! Finally, I found someplace several long blocks away who could squeeze him in for just a face trim, which I figured was better than nothing.

We ended up loving the groomer and loving the job she did. We brought him back the following weekend for a full groom, and we have been using that groomer ever since, even though it is a long walk from here. And this one wasn’t even one of the shops that was recommended by a friend! It had something that none of the others did: availability when I needed it. It was a good lesson for me.

My latest example of Analysis Paralysis did not have such a favorable outcome. We just got back from a great family vacation to London. We made the decision to go to London about two months ago. I immediately got on the internet to book flights. I followed that by using Trip Advisor to find a hotel. Trip Advisor is so loaded with information that it’s easy to get mired in it for hours without any resolution. Just when you think you found the perfect hotel, you read some absolutely dreadful reviews and you’re back to square one.

I managed to book a hotel (which turned out just fine) and then moved on to two of the “musts” on my list: a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre, and the Harry Potter Studios.  I did exhaustive research on what was playing at the Globe as well as at the other well known London venues. I bought my Globe tickets, and moved on to Harry Potter.

By now, I was thoroughly burnt out. But all the web sites on London said that if I you wanted to go to the Harry Potter Studios, buying tickets in advance was a must. So I forged ahead, reading about the different options for getting to the Harry Potter Studios — commuter rail vs. bus tour. And that’s where I hit a wall. I almost booked the bus tour, but was confused about whether there were multiple departures or just one per day. I decided to continue my research on another day and staggered off to bed.

I started contacting friends who had been to London to find out if they had done the rail option or the bus option. I still didn’t know what to do, and was also very busy working with clients, so I didn’t have a lot of free time to continue my research. I asked my teen-aged daughter to look into the options. Finally, a week before we were scheduled to leave, my daughter and I sat down at the computer to make a decision and buy the tickets.

To our horror, all options were completely sold out for the week that we would be there. Decision made.

I kicked myself for several days afterward, then decided to chalk it up to a valuable lesson learned. There is rarely a “perfect” option, and making any decision is usually better than making none at all. Because sometimes the decision gets made for you.

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