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3 Situations You're Probably Overanalyzing (and How to Stop)



3 Situations You're Probably Overanalyzing (and How to Stop)
It's human nature to analyze situations. At the end of the day, we all want to survive (both literally and figuratively), and we turn to our brains to figure out how to do that when things get tricky.


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A Colleague Is Rude to You

A Colleague Is Rude to You

At some point in your career, someone won’t be nice to you in the office, and it can really leave you feeling uncertain.

If your colleague said something rude one time, it was probably just an off statement. If, however, you notice the trend continuing and that person seems to be singling you out, it’s time to take action. 

Ask the offending co-worker for a quick walk or coffee meeting to mention your concerns.




You Think You’re Going to Be Fired

You Think You’re Going to Be Fired

... or Promoted

Your boss mentioned the word "fired" and looked in your direction? A colleague whispered that someone in your department was getting promoted? 

The easiest way to handle this situation is to keep doing whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re supposed to go somewhere else, someone will tell you.



You Had an Email Mishap

You Had an Email Mishap

Whether your important client memo included a typo or you sent a message to the totally wrong person, one of the most common things to overanalyze is email. 

To avoid future email issues, go to the “Labs” tab of your Gmail settings and enable the “Undo Send” option. If you think your email contained a serious issue, it’s always better to confront it head-on in a quick follow-up email rather than waiting it out.




Cal Newport on better managing time

  • To-Do lists are useless. Schedule everything.
  • Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  • ...

Our brains are programmed to procrastinate

It’s easier for our brains to process concrete and immediate outcomes rather than abstract and future things. So the short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds— b...

To make the benefits of action feel bigger and more real:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.
  • Pre-commit, publicly.
  • Confront the downside of inaction.

Considering the downside of putting a task off will help move forward with it

While we might weigh the pros and cons of doing something new, we far less often consider the pros and cons of not doing that thing. This often leads us to ignore some obvious benefits of getting stuff done.

Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underes...

Confirmation Bias

If you already have an opinion about something before you've even tried to figure it out, chances are you'll over-value information that confirms that opinion.

Think about what kinds of information you would expect to find to support alternative outcomes.

Attribution Bias

The “fundamental attribution error,” is when we excuse our own mistakes but blame other people for theirs.

Give other people the chance to explain themselves before judging their behavior.

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