Analysis Paralysis

I was cleaning up my office at work this morning, in preparation for my coming field season. OK, I admit, I was procrastinating.

I came across this fortune:


This rang true to me, since I’ve been trying to write several professional manuscripts for a while now and haven’t made any progress.

I know part of the reason why I haven’t gotten as far as I want is because of anxiety.I’m worried that what I write isn’t going to be good enough. I’m worried I’m not going to cite things correctly. I’m worried that I’ve missed an important paper and still need to to do more research.

I’m worried that someone’s going to read the paper and be able to tell that I don’t actually deserve the Ph.D. that I hold.

It’s analysis paralysis. I need to do more research. I can’t move forward. But I need to just write. So I try to write and decide I need to to more research. But I don’t do research. I run to the lab and work. I look at the data some more. I look for other sources.

I hope someone else will write the paper.

There is another complication, of course. It’s summer time. I’m supposed to be going outside and ‘enjoying’ myself. I keep coming to work in shorts, ready to revel in the warmer weather.

The problem there is that it puts me in the wrong mind-set. I’m dressed to play. Outdoors beacons. And the Internet calls. Yeah, it ain’t happening.

I need a work uniform.

I wear long pants to work most of the time, which really does put me in the right mental place. I wear long pants for safety reasons. I am, after all, a chemist. But I also wear them because it tends to be 62 degrees in my office year-round. It’s a little chilly for shorts.

Of course, then I don’t want to leave the building. It’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Jeans are miserable.

Still… It’s summer.

Maybe I’ll just read a few more papers.

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