21 April 2021

If you tend to get fixated on one thing, it could keep you from becoming more efficient

From time to time, we can’t help but overthink certain circumstances, especially if we’re running a business. Business owners are cursed with having a continuous bombardment of matters to think about and make decisions on all the time. As a Business Coach, I’ve worked with a lot of business owners who also find it challenging to manage their time better.

The problem with chronic overthinkers is that they tend to second-guess every decision they make and foresee disastrous aftermaths in their mind. They find it hard to move on to the next thing and they probably get caught up in conversations that they’ve already had before. They invoke images in their head each time they are presented with a situation, and as a result it may cloud their judgment or they end up not having a decision at all.

Unless your sole job is to sit around and think about things without having to do anything, thinking too much prevents a business owner like from getting anything done. You will not be able to master your own time because you easily get stuck in one state. Below are some tips on how to fight the urge to overthink.

Identify and steer clear of destructive thought patterns

Ruminating and persistent worrying are the two most destructive thought patterns. Ruminating is when you dwell too much on the past. For instance, you regret saying certain things during yesterday’s meeting, or you keep on going over and reviewing every step you’ve made in a recently-concluded project.

Persistent worrying is when you make negative — often disastrous — predictions about what’s going to happen in the future. This is when you’re constantly anxious about a looming change in the office, or you’re worried about the pending impact of something you just did.

As soon as you identify these thoughts, you can start to develop a defense so you won’t entertain them in your mind. Overthinking can become such a habit that you might not even recognise that you’re actually doing it. Start paying attention to how you think so you can become more aware. When thoughts aren’t productive, make an effort to snap back to normal thinking. Remember, thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.

Solve the problem, don’t multiply it

Your main focus should be looking for solutions to problems. By thinking about solutions, you can help yourself envision a positive outcome. Dwell on what will happen if you’re able to execute a great solution, not the opposite. The more you think about the worst-case scenario, the more problems you need to think about and waste precious time on.

It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. It helps when you acknowledge that your thoughts can sometimes be unreasonably undesirable. Challenge your thoughts by coming up with alternatives that lean towards positivity, not doom.

It helps to try a different approach once in a while

Forcing yourself to stop thinking about something will backfire. The more you try to avert a thought from entering your brain, the more likely it is to keep popping up. If you’re stuck in one place, try changing your activity. Allow yourself to get distracted — for a short while — by something that’s unrelated to the situation. This will help you pacify the barrage of negative thoughts so you can get back to solving the problem with a fresh mind.

Make time for reflection. Stewing on your crises will never result to anything productive, but a little reflection session can be helpful. Spend around 15 minutes reflecting on the bigger picture. This allows you to step back and see a broader perspective on things.

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