To cure the overthinking behavior, begin to do the following:
Add deadlines to all your decisions and choices. Set a date and time when you will decide and make sure that deadline aligns with the needs of others. It makes no sense to set a deadline of tomorrow to decide on the dinner location tonight. This discipline of internal deadlines will be very helpful, and you may have to write them down or add them to your task list as a reminder.
2. Proportionality and Scope
Another important strategy for overthinkers is the ability to ascertain the difference between a ten-cent problem and a million-dollar issue. As indicated earlier, overthinkers will often put the same thought and analysis into both. Save your superpower analysis for the big issues and let go of or ignore the inconsequential. This will take significant discipline from the overthinker and a very purposeful and mindful approach to identify issues as either important or unimportant. The key mantra of overthinkers is that everything is important and that must be unwired and removed from conscious thought.
3. Limit the “What Ifs”
Set a self-imposed limit of the number of “what if” scenarios that you will consider, process, and analyze. A great starting point would be three of them. After you have thought through those, it is time to decide and move.
4. Apply Some Probability
Many of the “what ifs” that overthinkers process and lose time with have as much chance of occurring as you purchasing a nice blue raspberry snow cone in the depth of Hades. We have all heard those queries, usually near the end of a meeting, from an overthinker that starts with “have you thought about” followed by the extremely remote event that only the overthinker could imagine. As you think about a “what if” and determine the genuine likelihood of it occurring. Has it happened to you before? Does it happen often? What would have to come together to make it happen? Will Halley’s Comet return prior to this “what if” happening? If the likelihood or probability of occurrence is less than 40% in a reasonable period, move on and make the choice now.
5. Benefits of Action Shift
Using a very purposeful approach, shift your thinking from what could go wrong to the benefits or results of the action. Focus on the benefits, value, and internal satisfaction points that would be generated from a decision or action. Look for the good and not the “what ifs”.
6. Limit Input
A common behavior among overthinkers is to solicit input from others, often many other people. This “shopping for an answer” is designed to minimize the believed risk and validate the “what ifs” discovered by the overthinker. Limit your input to one or two trusted and honest people that will give you a true perspective of the issue and not just what you want to hear.
7. Now is the Perfect Time
The use of a self-imposed and assertively uncomfortable deadline will cure a bit part of this, but it is also necessary to make a shift in mindset. Openly acknowledge that there is no such thing as the perfect time, there is only time and the now. This strategy will reappear a bit later.
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- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Procrastination
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- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Perfectionism
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- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overthinking
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