I’ve got this uncanny ability (“fault” is probably a better word) to find a lesson in the most mundane of tasks and experiences. In this instance, a bag of quick-crete taught me a thing or two about research and the act of doing as it relates to branding and design.
We’ve been planning on having some staining work done on our backyard patio. In preparation, I needed to fill five holes and a few hairline cracks. Having never worked with concrete I researched how to best perform the task. Not far into the search, I felt it enter the room: Analysis Paralysis.
What kind of concrete would I need? The same as I have? How do I know what kind of concrete I have? Will it match? More searching. More analysis paralysis.
What if I put too much water in the concrete mix? Do I have the right tools to complete the job? Do I need the fancy mixer thing that goes on my drill?
Now I couldn’t walk outside without staring at the hole and cracks and wonder if I was going to make them worse? What would I do if I screwed up? Can you remove just a little piece of concrete? And most importantly would I be hearing the dreaded “Maybe we should just call someone to do it?” from my wife.
Yep, it was here, that ugly no good black hole of doubt, questioning and lost productivity, and it was setting up camp. This went on for two weeks.
Tired of all the back and forth, guessing and second guessing, I just went to Home Depot, bought a bag of quick-crete, read the instructions, mixed it up (with a small garden spade, no need for the aforementioned fancy mixer thing) and put that concrete down using another small garden spade.
And you know what? It worked. It worked great. Mission accomplished.
Mr. Analysis Paralysis packed his bags up and left town.
“So what’s the lesson?” you ask.
1: Know when to invest the time and energy into deep research vs. top-level research.
In our industry, some projects, say a branding effort or product launch into a crowded market, require that deep dive. Yet others don’t and yet we consistently offer up our time to and energy to researching something only to be more confused, doubtful and behind schedule then when we started. Need a nice san-serif font? Grab a few and get going.
2: Do it. Just do the damn thing.
There is some serious sorcery that happens when we take what we have researched, couple it with what our gut already knows and start do-ing. You handle the hiccups and hurdles. You improvise. Your training and experience pitch in and suddenly the “should I’s?” and “can I’s?” turn into “hell yeah, I did!”.
So when the next project or task that you may not be versed in presents itself, take a deep breath, do your research (but not too much) and get do-ing. Analysis paralysis will never see you coming.
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