Why is overthinking a problem?

Coming from a background in strategy I’m paid to ‘think’ about stuff. The only downside of this is that I’ve been trained to ‘think’ too much too often! And this often translates to me over-thinking things in my personal life. We’ve all been there….a challenge pops up and what do we do? Over-think it! Spend hours with the internal monologue chatting away as we deliberate one choice over another…..

“maybe if I did it this way…oh but what about that way! Oh how could I be so stupid it has to be this way! No wait – but then there’s that other way….oh now I’m confused!”

Sounds familiar? The problem with over-analysis is that it keeps you stuck in the problem in a loop as you go from one thought to the next to another to the next until you end up in a head-spin no closer to a solution or any kind of clarity. In fact you’re stuck in the grasp of anxiety. But is all analysis bad? Of course not! Useful analysis is required to make decisions.

How do you know if your analysis is useful? There is one simple check-point:

Analysis is ONLY useful if it brings you to an action

If you’re not drawing to any kind of conclusion or specific action point then it’s likely you are over-analysing. And over-analysis is very detrimental to your success. Someone once told me the valuable statement:

Analysis = paralysis

And for me this was an epiphany.

“What you mean all that time I’d devoted to ‘thinking’ was in actual fact providing me with zero productivity or put in another way: NO RESULTS?”

If you’re not getting a result from something then why bother doing it in the first place? This is how I feel about over-analysis. The only outcome you’re likely to get from this kind of thinking is anxiety – which I’m sure you’ll agree is not a good one.

Simple Life Strategy: how to stop over thinking

  1. Next time you find yourself spending a significant amount of time in analysis – ask yourself the question: Am I running over-analysis or useful analysis?
  2. If you are going around in circles with no outcome or action points then it’s likely you are running over-analysis
  3. Take a break. STOP thinking about the problem (often it’s when you stop thinking about a problem that a solution appears!)
  4. Return to the problem once you’ve given it a rest – but choose to only run ‘useful analysis’ and ensure you reach an action point

If you’re keen to understand exactly how to control your overanalysis using techniques created by the most successful people on the planet Contact me to find out more about my Coaching programs.
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