How much information is enough?


Does consuming a lot of information make you feel more comfortable in your decision making ability? To some extent, information gathering is useful. However, too much information gathering can prevent forward progress toward achieving your goals.


Last week, I looked into buying snow tires for my SUV. I needed to do a bit of research to understand whether snow tires were even a good option for the climate in which I live. (Yes, they are definitely a great option for me.) I also needed to research what brands and models are recommended. I checked reviews on Amazon and ConsumerReports and chatted with the guys at TireRack. After choosing the brand and model and, of course, the size I needed for my SUV, I searched around for who was offering the best price. (The best price I found was at TireRack — no, this isn’t an affiliate link.) There are a lot of decisions to be made in something as simple as buying tires. I ensured I made a good choice by getting some information on a topic I wasn’t well versed in.


At any point along the way, I could’ve gone down the rabbit hole of information that’s on the Internet. I frequently find myself with a cell phone full of open browser windows. Because I have so many interests and love learning, this happens a lot to me. Have you ever done so much research that you’ve gotten information overload and failed to make any decision at all? Tell me I’m not alone.


In business, it’s even more important to be able to make decisions without getting lost in the data. There are so many decisions to make when you own a business. It’s wise to add some information in your decision making process. Eventually, you’re going to reach the point where its usefulness has reached its threshold. You can overdose on tracking industry or business news, reviewing your company’s internal analytics, or information gathering whether a new product or venture is a good idea.


Just get started.


At some point, you need to stop with the information gathering. Some people keep researching “How to start a business” but never actually start one, paralyzing themselves with too much information. What good is all that information gathering? In your business, do you find yourself researching one topic over and over? Is it possible you’re just using the “researching phase” as an excuse to comfort yourself as to why you haven’t accomplished your goal yet? You need to stop the researching and just jump in – get started.


Think about a specific goal you want to reach. Are you feeling like you need to have every step researched, decided upon, and fleshed out between where you are now and where you want to be? Believe me, you don’t need to have it all planned out before you can begin! Just get started and figure it out as you go. You’re not making forward progress if you’re doing all this research and information gathering without taking any action.


You can’t plan for everything.


You don’t need to have every step planned out when you begin. Right now, you need to focus on the only two points that matter: your first step and the last one, which is the result you desire. The rest of the steps in the middle will work themselves out as you make the necessary adjustments along the way.


You can’t plan ahead for every unknown possibility. Admit you don’t know what you don’t know and then get over it. Sure, you’ll come across obstacles along the way. It’s better to keep making forward progress than to give your energy to obstacles that may not ever pop up.


Remember, a little information is good. More information isn’t necessarily better. Make the best use of your time and just get started and keep making that forward progress.