A Simple Treatment for the Chronic Over-Thinker

By Asa Beavers

Hi, my name is Asa, and I’m an over-thinker…

Over-Thinkers Anonymous?

I haven’t actually looked for an Over-Thinkers Anonymous (OA) chapter to help me with this issue, yet it wouldn’t surprise me if there is such a thing.

For entrepreneurs and business owners, over-thinking can be categorized as a afflication. But, before we get into the treatment options, let’s first get a clear definition of the affliction.

A Clear Definition of Over-thinking

Indecision and procrastination delay delivering exceptional service to customers and bringing your best products to market. Simply put here’s my definition of over-thinking…

Over-thinking: the act of taking something seemingly simple, dissecting it into smaller parts, trying to understand each part, then trying to put it all back together only to fail after discovering the complexity.

Then here’s what happens: you start something then give up, or you decide to not start at all.

A quick story to illustrate my point…

Are You An Exercise Over-Thinker?

For most of my life going all the way back to grade school I’ve been athletic. I was lucky that my parents took me to the club during my early years where I took gym classes and learned how the body moves and works. As I got older, I learned how to lift weights and gain endurance. Then by middle school and into high school I was playing on teams. And, into adulthood all the way to the present, I’ve remained a recreational athlete.

For me, being able to find time to get in a workout hasn’t been too much of a problem because it is a part of my lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I don’t fall into the trap of over-thinking what I’m going to do for exercise. After all, there’s so many options, yet so little time!

So, why is it so difficult for us to adopt a regular exercise program? Yep, you got it, we tend to over-think it!

Over-Thinker Without Much Doing

  1. First, you might think, I don’t know what to do or how to do it. One can quickly overcome that objection with a few online searches.
  2. Then you might think, I don’t belong to a gym, or I don’t have any equipment. Again, you don’t need those things when you’re just starting out.
  3. Then you might think, well if I start exercising I will need to adjust my nutrition, and I’m not sure how to do that. You’re correct in thinking that, but it shouldn’t stop you from starting some type of exercise.
  4. Then you might think if I lose weight or my body begins to change I’ll need to buy new clothes. Correct again, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

You get the picture: the act of simply getting some daily exercise turns into a whole lot of thinking without much doing. Our minds turn something simple into something much more complex. The result is what too many of us experience: starting then giving up, or not starting at all.

Other Questions You May Be Over-Thinking

Now the question is am I willing to invest time during my day to do something that may be hard to get started, but easy to actually accomplish? Then indecision and procrastination ensue.

By the way, exactly when and where is that OA meeting anyway?

Are You An Over-Thinker When It Comes To Your Business?

Let’s put this into the context of your business.

As I stated in a previous blog about clarity, or lack of it, indecision and procrastination can do more to stall business growth than possibly anything else.

If indecision and procrastination are bad for business, then why do we as business leaders get stuck by over-thinking things? Here are a few reasons that might feel familiar if you’re an over-thinker:

  • Wanting to know how things work first
  • Looking to avoid making mistakes
  • Worried what others might think
  • Trying to make things perfect
  • Analysis paralysis
  • Fear of failure

Take a moment to picture in your mind a project you’re working on. You may not feel like you’re over-thinking because, after all, you’re doing your due diligence. You’re doing your research in order to make the best decision for your business. Makes sense to me, until it doesn’t.

Don’t Be Paralyzed With Indecision & Procrastination

Because in business, indecision and procrastination delay getting products and services to market. They delay improving business systems to improve margins. They delay finding ways to deliver a better customer experience. They delay launching new marketing campaigns, or new sales strategies. Essentially, indecision and procrastination delay income generation, and possibly you getting paid.

It’s an affliction that can paralyze one from getting the most important things done. It affects business income and profitability, and possibly even your personal income.

Two Key Actions for Over-Thinkers

So what can you do if you’re suffering from this affliction? Try these two things:

  1. Reserve strategy time in your calendar to focus solely on a project or a decision. I call this deep work. It’s time that is important enough to put as an appointment on your calendar, and most importantly it’s done in a place that’s free of distractions (email, phone, social media,etc).
  2. Make deep work a habit. By making time to do deep work it’s possible to chip away at larger projects that require your utmost attention because they are that important. It needs to be routinely scheduled in your calendar!

Seinfeld’s Productivity Method

You know who Jerry Seinfeld is, right? He’s the famous New York comedian that had a long running TV show called Seinfeld. It just so happens he has a productivity method named after his as well.

Seinfeld’s method requires a year-long calendar that will allow you to mark each day on which you performed your task. You start making consistent marks and after a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer and longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.

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Digging Deep

Over-thinking is a disease you inflict upon your business and it’s stalling growth. Investing time, your most valuable resource, into deep work is absolutely the most effective treatment option.

Reach out to me if you’d like to dig deeper on this topic and find out how you can gain better control of your business and unlock its full potential. Comment below, use this contact form or click here if you’d like to schedule a free 15-minute triage call to explore what might work for you. And, if you found this article useful share it.