Wanderings – Analysis paralysis and good enough

My bottomless list of household and hobby projects is often sidelined by an ailment, one that I have suffered from for a long time – analysis paralysis.

This ailment, also known as AP, is not laziness or procrastination. Nor is it indecision. There are two parts to AP: being unable to move forward without having all the information; and the fear of making a mistake because you don’t have all the information.

For example, I have not finished my basement floor project. The Dri-Core sub-floor is down, yet I have not installed the flooring. What do I go with – Vinyl or laminate? I’ve weighed the pros and cons of this decision, priced it out, and thought some more. AP has set in.

The cost factor comes into play here, but it is more about worrying about making the right decision, and not making the wrong one.

What if I pick the laminate flooring and our three-year old washer decides its “designed obsolescence” time is nigh? I will have to rip up new laminate flooring and curse the engineers who can’t design a decent reliable appliance.

What if I pick the vinyl, and said washer throws water everywhere? If that water goes under the vinyl, I still have to rip up flooring and remove the sub floor. Obviously the answer here is to buy a new washer in this process and put it inside a 45 gallon drum – just in case. I think my spouse will object to that idea.

These decisions are not made lightly and trying to adopt the Nike mantra is a struggle. Sometimes cost is the big factor for those afflicted with AP.

We wanted to replace our front deck this year. The price of lumber climbed from “expensive” to “you want how much” and deterred much of the scope of our project. I think our new two foot square deck will look lovely when its completed in 2025.

AP has infiltrated my hobby world too. I have many model railroad projects to build or finish, but a lack of information has caused AP to set in. Where exactly did this detail or that go on the cab of this locomotive? The station in that town had two or three windows on the front wall? Limited photos and no drawings lead to guesswork. Guesswork leads to – you guessed it, AP.

There is an antidote to AP called “good enough.” Does this look close enough to what you know based on the available information? Okay then its good enough. Does XYZ seem like it makes sense? Good enough. Is that shade of forest green too blue? No? Good enough.

A long-standing rule for many hobby enthusiasts is evoking the three-foot rule. If it looks correct from three feet away, it’s good enough. If you dare to look closer than from three feet away and then comment that something is wrong, get out.

Needless to say I am not at the good enough phase of my endeavors yet, but I think that is drawing near as I continue to consider my basement flooring issue. I want the flooring completed before the bleak cold days of mud season set in, and I don’t want it to cost a small fortune. Cost and time are antidotes in a way too.

In the end, my affliction with AP eventually resolves itself with time and information. Until that happens, I hope the only spin cycle I have to deal with is the washing machine. And if it is going to break, it does so before the flooring is done. I wonder what I would replace it with?

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