Dependency Paralysis, or Not Getting Things Done

When I am about to do a task, I think of all the requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to do the task well. I then list all the requirements for those requirements, and then again, ad infinitum. As you can probably tell, I worry a lot and get very little done.

Oh, but I have plans! And these plans are real — set in stone in my brain. These plans become more important than the work itself. Let’s take a look at some of these plans:

Now there are two things (among the hundred other) that always go wrong. One, is losing track of the why, and the other is fake dependencies.

The first one is an easy trap to fall into. I’ll be working on the sticky note plugin all the while worrying that I am wasting my time doing it. Why am I not writing about books instead? At this point I have forgotten that I am building the plugin so that I can write about books (silly, I know). I have to try and remember why I am doing something in the first place, and when I do I feel kind of stupid. Really, a WordPress plugin to be able to start writing about books?

The other one is more painful because it is not even true. For example, I don’t really need the money from the old web host to get Dropbox. It is a silly dependency. But since I thought that is how I’d do it, that is how the brain wants to do it now. I have to spend significant effort to show myself that is not the case. I can be stubborn with myself too.

All of this makes me wonder if I am even in control of my brain. Am I running some sort of bureaucratic corporate structure up there? Processes, lists, approvals. It is weird to have to cut through your brain’s red tape to reach goals that the brain itself wants to achieve. While the dependencies are a good tool for planning, sometimes I need to be bold and just start. Things don’t need to be perfect from the start, and sometimes even dependencies, real or fake, can wait.

Originally published at https://prtksxna.com on July 10, 2020.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store