What is the one thing that holds people back from accomplishing things in their life that they really want to do? Over-analyzing everything. It can range from overthinking every little problem until each one becomes a much larger perceived problem (and now too scary to do) to breaking down what would be a positive thing so far that it is now a negative thing (and too scary to do).
People with this tendency never allow themselves to enjoy the happiness of the moment because everything they attempt to do has to be scripted to the nth degree. They are so busy over-analyzing and deconstructing everything before it happens that it ends up not happening. This situation called paralysis by analysis. In other words, something gets analyzed (over-analyzed) to the point that it doesn’t get done.
What should be clarified here is there is a difference between thinking things through and over analysis. It is prudent in many cases to think things through to make sure all the bases are covered. The difference is people who think things through first end up doing them, whereas people that over analyze end up not following through.
To help overcome this problem, let’s look at four ways of overcoming it…
1) Look at things from a wider perspective
Before counting something out as not doing it, ask yourself how (or if) it will matter in 5 years from now or even in a few weeks. If it is something that is short-lived, avoid overthinking it and just do it!
2) Limit the time to make decisions
For people having a tendency to over-analyze something, having an unlimited amount of time to come to a decision may result not making a decision at all (paralysis by analysis). For small decisions, limit the decision time to 30 seconds or less; for larger decisions, allow 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the scope and importance of the issue needing deciding. Setting a time limit makes you come to a decision one way or the other.
3) Reduce stress
Here are some things that helps reduce stress:
- Start your day on a positive note. It usually sets the tone for the rest of the day.
- If you haven’t already, break down larger tasks into smaller chunks (how do you eat an elephant? One chunk at a time).
- Take regular breaks. It helps clear the mind and once back at your work, things look different and usually more positive.
- Avoid information overload. Force yourself to look at emails when you get to work, mid-day and before going home for the day. Otherwise all your time is spent dealing with emails and not doing the work you should have done by the end of the day.
- Lay out the schedule for the next day before leaving work for the day. That way you can start organized the next day and avoid spinning your wheels.
4) Realize you can’t control everything
You just can’t. So, it is better to devote your time to dealing with the things you can control and not waste time on the things you can’t. If you don’t, in the end you just get frustrated because of all the time you wasted that did not improve that situation. In this article, we looked at 4 ways you can start using today to stop (or at least lessen) the amount of time spent over-analyzing everything. By implementing just these 4 things, you will get more done and spend less time spinning your wheels.