I wonder at what point the term “overthinking” was coined. Because you’d think thinking can’t ever be bad, no matter how much of it you do.
And yet, one of my biggest obstacles to productivity is overthinking.
Overthinking stops me from getting past the idea stage of writing and on to actually writing. It keeps me locked in the planning stages of a trip, without ever really crossing over into enjoyment and engagement when I’m on the trip. I’ve always been a planner, someone who loves the details and logistics of an event almost more than the event itself. And while this rapid-fire thinking can be useful in the early stages of a project, it becomes inhibitive when it’s time to complete it.
And so I have to find ways to stop myself from overthinking.
For writing, I do this by taking on projects like this challenge and NaNoWriMo. I’m competitive enough that I’ll eventually convince my brain to override its overthink mode in order to complete a task. If I’m under a deadline, I’ll do what it takes to make it, even if that means shutting off the overthinking part of my process. This challenge has been great for knowing that I have to post every day, and while I’ve been striving for great content, I eventually have to hit “publish” if I want the post to go up in time, which means I have to stop overthinking it at some point.
For traveling, it means knowing when to shut off my phone, put away the map, and let adventure happen. It also means keeping my eyes open for something off the beaten path. While it’s nice to go into a new place with some advance knowledge, sometimes the best things aren’t on any lists.
4 thoughts on “O is for Overthinking”
I’m right there with you. I always overthink everything –not just writing. The A-Z challenge along with my personal challenges to myself keep me going – posting, reading, doing, etc…
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Yes! Challenges really help to break out of it!
I never used to think I was an over-thinker, but after reading this, I’m pretty sure I am! I do love to plan things. When it comes to trips, I’ll write up different itinerary options with descriptions, web addresses, how far these attractions are from our hotel, admission fee…you name it. Even though it can be helpful, I can get caught up in sticking to it instead of being adventurous. With writing, I do the same; over-think the entire idea and plot and never write a word down until I’m convinced it could work. I need to just write and go with the flow.
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I think you just have to know when to let the overthinking, planner extraordinaire part of your brain have free reign, and when to tell it to hush. 🙂 I absolutely love planning, making lists, doing exactly what you said — finding attractions and mapping them and ranking them and looking up reviews. But I think you get more enjoyment out of things, both traveling and writing, when you reach a point where you know you’ve researched well and it’s time to let exploration reign free. It’s a delicate balance, I think.