top of page

How To Stop Overthinking — And Get Stuff Done

Written by: Deborah Lynch, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Overthinking kills ideas. It hampers progress. It slams on the brakes and brings many a promising project to a screeching halt. It happens all the time — because overthinking automatically sows the seeds of doubt, puts up barriers to whatever it is you desire in a given project, and will all too often take you right back to Square One.

I know many people in business who automatically overthink a situation, but I no longer list myself among them. For example, when writing an article, I usually sit down at the computer with a topic in mind, begin typing, and figure out what I’m going to write as I go along. I may take a wrong turn here and there, but such cul-de-sacs become quickly apparent, and I’m soon back on course. By the end of that seat-of-the-pants exercise, I’ll have an article that’s pretty much ready to go and will only need a touch of fine-tuning before it is published.


This method places me firmly in one of two categories of article writers. And I’m pleased to say that I belong with those who jump in at the deep end, start swimming in the sea of words, and emerge triumphant at the end.


The other category is those writers who ponder endlessly over what to write and how to write it. They will carefully figure out every element of the article in question. This will lead to a detailed plan of what goes where. But they won’t begin the actual job of writing until they are one hundred percent happy with their blueprint, which will lead to even more tinkering. These writers might be classified as over-thinkers. Even following their carefully constructed stratagem, they might well overthink themselves submitting to an overwhelming doubt and heading straight back to the drawing board.


So far today, I’ve written two articles without overthinking. The first, based on a topic that I’m totally familiar with, came relatively easily. The second topic sprang spontaneously out of writing the first.


Now I’m now working on the third (this one). Apart from its promising title, I didn’t know what I would write until I got started. Having now produced almost 400 words so far, I can see that my progress is pretty good, and I’m confident of reaching a satisfying conclusion. This is a typical example of taking spontaneous action. Had I sat down to plot out the content item by item, line by line, I would no doubt find myself lost in a great landscape of overthinking.


Interestingly, I really enjoy the process of writing this particular article because exploring the unknown is always enjoyable, exciting, and enlightening. It’s never boring!


Embrace those different shades of grey


In her marvellous book Outrageous Openness, Tosha Silver writes: ‘No matter what you want to achieve, surrender should always be Step One.’ Basically, this means that in wanting to control everything, you literally cultivate a fear which leads to stress and anxiety. In other words, the root cause of overthinking. To overcome this, Tosha recommends surrender. Don’t attempt to control everything. Instead, simply allow good things to happen by eliminating overthinking.


I often encounter overthinking among my own clientele. For instance, Rebecca told me: “I’ve never had a real relationship. Every relationship that I had either didn’t include emotional connection or didn’t involve sex.”


“Rebecca,” I explained. “That’s called black-and-white thinking. A relationship that doesn’t have an emotional connection or sex isn’t necessarily a bad relationship. There are many different shades of grey in any given situation. As long as a relationship adds value to your life, it’s a successful relationship.”


Black-and-white thinking is a symptom of overthinking. The solution to it is to fully embrace those shades of grey.


Mind your mindset (or your mind will play tricks on you)


According to my own observations, people only start working on their mindset after major trauma in their lives: a horrific breakup… getting fired… a broken family relationship… and so on. But one of my goals is to make self-help something that we all practice in our day-to-day lives. In the future, if someone doesn’t self-help, it will look like they don’t use a smartphone (yes, that’s my goal). I want self-help to become a natural part of everyone’s existence because I know that if you don’t work on your mindset, then sooner or later, your mind will start playing tricks on you!


As Gary Vaynerchuk once said: “I don’t like gurus who talk about mind and motivation, and I certainly don’t want to be a motivational speaker, but a person’s mindset actually matters because it’s definitely fundamental to everything.”


If you tend to overthink situations, I recommend you begin by working on your mindset. But do so with the knowledge that overthinking is caused by stress and anxiety… which in turn result from fear… which in turn comes from an inability to accept negative experiences.


How to get stuff done (the Zuckerberg way)


Did you know Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even plan to make an absolute fortune? Back in the beginning, his website was created to help guys meet girls on his university campus. But as we all know, Facebook grew from those basic origins (or urges) to become one of the world’s most successful businesses.


Mark Zuckerberg simply started out with a good idea and went along with it. He didn’t formulate a 100-page business plan and then implement all its painstaking details. Essentially, he didn’t spend two years overthinking things. If he had done so, we probably wouldn’t have what is arguably the most popular social media platform on the planet today.


Clearly, the Zuckerberg example above demonstrates that the first step towards getting stuff done is to take action while fully accepting any potential risks. It certainly isn’t sitting around overthinking things.


The power of a soundtrack


According to American author Jon Acuff, one real solution to overthinking isn’t to stop thinking, it’s to accompany one’s work time with a suitable soundtrack — as an aid against overthinking.


When I was younger, I’d work at my computer in complete silence. The void created by having no suitable soundtrack playing in the background was filled by an overthinking that inevitably slowed me down. I did some research and quickly learned that the best way to curb overthinking when working is to have a lo-fi soundtrack playing somewhere in the background. I found that relaxing background music eliminated any other extraneous noise and helped me stay focused on the task at hand. It is a system I’ve stuck to ever since.


Occasionally I’ll listen to songs sung in a language not my own — not understanding the lyrics somehow aids my concentration. Sometimes listening to the sound of the ocean or the patter of rain on leaves on YouTube helps me to stay focused.


Don’t waste time chasing perfection


Job interview candidates are often asked: “What is your weakness?” After a few moments of thought the candidate, keen to impress the employer, modestly replies: “I guess I’m too much of a perfectionist.”


If I were that employer, I wouldn’t be at all impressed by that answer. The pursuit of perfection is an impossible ideal. I’d rather hire someone who admits to suffering from overthinking. At least they are honest. By contrast, the pursuit of perfection is a cruel joke.


I know many will not agree with all the sentiments expressed in the above text. But that’s okay — hopefully, this imperfect article will provide food for thought. Writing it without overthinking has certainly helped me to reach my goal of 1300+ words!


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, and visit my website for more info!


 

Deborah Lynch, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Deborah Lynch is THE global expert on embodying your personal presence (both online and offline) to achieve your dreams, influence hundreds of thousands of people, and achieve self-actualization.

Her mission is to help you build a thriving personal Presence that helps you succeed in business, in relationships, and in every area of your life easily – almost effortlessly!


She has built a successful speaking business, a successful coaching company, a successful Youtube channel, and a successful eCommerce store, and specializes in helping entrepreneurs succeed in today’s presence-driven online landscape.


Deborah’s Story


Deborah’s story is one of overcoming poverty to achieving triumph – and it is still evolving to this day! If she can do it, anyone can – including you!

At one point in her life, Deborah even found herself homeless, with nothing but a can of carrots to eat. At that point, she found a mentor who trained her on a specific set of skills and began her journey to success.


Deborah learned how to become a success both as an entrepreneur and in the corporate world, and eventually discovered the great power of Presence, which she used to become a professional speaker and present for over 150,000 people in 70 countries for 48 different luxury brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, and Gucci.


Upon reaching the height of her career, she realized she wanted something more. She wanted to use her Presence as a way to help others in every area of their lives – from personal to professional, and beyond.

That’s when Instant Wings was born, and along with it her Youtube channel Instant Wings1, where she now has over 51,000 views and over 5,000 hours of playtime (and counting!)


Today

Now, Deborah has turned her attention to helping you discover your presence. Because people with a powerful, magnetic Presence – and a message that turns their adversities into a superpower – can experience nearly overnight success in almost endeavour.


Your powerful personal presence can be used to transform your business, your relationships, your results, your health, and your happiness. Because all of these things depend on how you show up. And that’s exactly what Deborah is here to teach you.


Ready to master your Presence?

Comments


CURRENT ISSUE

  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04

CHANNELS

bottom of page