Overthinking eats up your willpower - Deepstash

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The Science of Analysis Paralysis: How Overthinking Kills Your Productivity

Overthinking eats up your willpower

You can think of willpower as a muscle. The more you use it, the more it wears out, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. 

When we agonize over a decision, we deplete our limited supply of willpower much more quickly, causing us to feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

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Overthinking And Inaction

Overthinking and getting lost in endless options reduces their effectiveness and intelligence by producing inaction.

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The Trap of Overthinking

Overthinking becomes an endless cycle of thinking through options, researching it, and through the research finding even more things to think about. 

The uncertainty in this kind of thinking is what keeps us stuck in indecision.

Cutting Through with Action

We should always contemplate the pros and cons, take a step back from the action and get some perspective, see the big picture, consider the deeper Why of what we’re doing. But at some point, we have to say, “Enough!” And then take action.

Analysis paralysis
It's a form of procrastination.

It happens when you convince yourself you can't go forward with a decision, because you haven't given it enough thought, done enough research or figured thi...

Why analysis paralysis happens

It has the same root cause as all forms of procrastination. It is caused by the desire to avoid something unpleasant: you don’t want to get started, so you start searching for excuses to justify avoiding the unpleasantness.

And there really are fears, uncertainties or doubts, which make doing more research an attractive excuse.

Dealing with analysis paralysis

You have to manage 2 realities: 

  • Rationalization: Deal with your rationalization that you need more time to think, plan and research by preventing this excuse from working.
  • Underlying fear: Even if you convince yourself that you are engaging in procrastination and your paralysis is unhelpful, that may not stop you from doing it. Now you need to figure out how to get past it.
Put things into a wider perspective

When you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

It allows you to stop thinking about something and to focu...

Set short time-limits for decisions

  • For small decisions like if you should go and do the dishes, respond to an email or work out, give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.
  • For somewhat larger decisions that would  take you days or weeks to think through in general, use a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.

Stop setting your day up for stress
  • Get a good start, that will set the tone for your day. (read or work-out and then start with the most important task of the day).
  • Single-task and take regular breaks. This will help you to keep a sharp focus during your day and to get what’s most important done while also allowing you to rest.
  • Minimize your daily input, especially from social media consumption. It will clutter your mind as the day progresses.