I have been told once or twice…that I can overthink things. I think it comes from being a planner, I like to go through all the scenarios or play out different ideas in my head. But there is a point where thinking and ideating cross over to overthinking…and that can be counterproductive and even anxiety producing.
Can you relate???
If you find yourself swirling around on an idea or a thought pattern, I’ve created 6 steps to help you move forward.
First, let me define overthinking. I find that overthinking consists of an idea or a decision you need to make, that you continue to circle around. It can show up as getting hung up on a small piece of the decision, like “should this program be 3 weeks or 5 weeks?”, or it can show up as an insecurity or doubt, ‘does anyone even want this opt in? Will it actually help them?”. Or it can show up as not being able to settle on a price or even getting confused about exactly how you even help people in the first place!
So, if you find yourself stuck in an endless loop of ‘what the heck should I do??” try these steps.
- Take a break – walk away, get some fresh air, switch projects. Eat, drink some water, rest. Your brain might just need to reboot for you to be clear on the solution.
- Write out the decision you need to make – our brains are not a hospitable place to hold all your ideas. Writing out exactly what decision you are trying to make can give you some clarity. You probably are more clear on parts of your overthinking than you think, there may just be 1 or 2 decisions you need to make.
- What is the purpose of the thing you are doing? What is the result you want? Coming back to the “why” of the thing you are deciding about can remind you of the direction you need to go.
- Address the “what if’s…?” Identify the things that are holding you back and name them. Then ask yourself if that fear is true. And even if it is true, what will you do then? “What if no one wants this opt-in I’ve created???” Then you’ll create something new. “What if 3 weeks is too short?” You can add bonus weeks, or extend it the next time.
- Remember, clarity comes from action. Speaking of ‘next time’, is this the first draft? Can you make a decision, for now, and change it in the next round if you don’t like it? Can this whole decision be saved for version 2.0 after you have put it out into the world?
- Ask for an opinion from a trusted source – Notice this is not the first step. You have to do the leg work in the first steps so they can see the real decision you are trying to make, not the whole contents of your head vomited out for them. You can approach a friend and ask, “I’m doing this thing, I want the results to be this and I know I want to do this, and this, but I’m struggling with this one decision, can you help me think it through?” And most likely that second opinion will be able to help you answer that last question and move on.
What are you currently overthinking? Follow these steps to get you out of overthinking and into action.