The Paralysis of Analysis

I know several spreadsheet masters.

These people work Excel like David Copperfield working an illusion. They know every twist, component, angle, and formula.

They can plug in data along with a single variable and come up with years of projections.

They can take the smallest of downturns in sales in a territory and analyze it out to past quarters, years, brands, customer types, and wines.

And of course, these spreadsheets look good. Headers, good fonts, formulas, macros, cross-sheet references, and more. These ain’t your A+B simple grids. They have ideas and answers for the sales rep.

And yet, maybe the answer is more clear than the numbers suggest: maybe a rep just has to focus more and work with a bit more hustle.

Working with numbers is important in our business, no doubt. But don’t let it slow down the train, especially during the last quarter of the year. There is a time and a place for analysis. There is a time and place for spreadsheets. They are necessary tools for success.

But when you find yourself taking away time that you would normally use for in-person sales, for personal development, or for balancing your life and instead you fall into the endless pit of spreadsheets, it’s time to step back.

Don’t get paralyzed by the numbers. Hustle is the antidote to the paralysis. Get out and hustle.

(Note: of course there is a correct time for spreadsheets and analysis. It’s called January. When the holiday craziness is over, when calendar year end is in the books, you can accurately judge the whole of the year, breaking it into quarters, and strategize for the upcoming year. That’s the right time to take a moment for your spreadsheets, to tell customers you’ll see them next week, and develop some deep work habits for yourself.)

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