Don’t think. Do.

This is it.

This is kind of my mantra at the moment. It’s amazing how much time I can waste trying to over-think a situation sometimes. There is a name for that: paralysis by analysis.

So lately I deliberately prohibit myself to do excessive over-thinking and analyzing of a situation. Instead I force myself to just act. It feels a little weird since I like to know exactly where what I do fits in the big picture. So when I’m not exactly sure about something anymore, stepping back and analyzing the problem sets in.

Now I’m pretty happy that I’m able to do this kind of strategic thinking. It has been the source of many of my best decisions. But as with so many things, where there is light there is also some shadow. And so, sometimes I look for ways to stop analyzing and start doing.

If you can identify with this kind of problem and sometimes feel that procrastination is your biggest enemy, then the following list may be helpful.

Here are the 5 best hacks to stop over-thinking and take effective action again:

#1 Make The Decision (Even If You Are Not Sure)

I noticed that over and over the biggest blocker and cause for procrastination were difficult decisions.

You and I will never have the perfect knowledge and insight into everything. To get ahead just decide! Make a decision by selecting the best of all alternatives and then go ahead with it. While you are on your way, you still can adjust.

To decide is Latin and means “to cut off”. You cut off everything except the one route you’ll take after the decision. The critical skill is to make the decision, even if you are not 100% sure it’s the right one. If you are 75% sure and you’re heart tells you it’s the right thing, then stop analyzing and cut off the other 25%. Go with your decision. Forget about the rest. This can be very deliberating.

So if you are “on hold” because you have to make a decision right now, then just make it now! This will clear things up and you can go on.

#2 Become Very Result Oriented

Result-orientation gets the job done. It’s a very good mindset for productivity, which is basically saying: Only results matter – nothing else. This automatically puts your focus only on those tasks that produce results.

Producing results builds positive momentum. With momentum you’ll get ahead and make progress much faster.

Read more in my post: The Mindset to Getting Things Done: Think Result-Oriented

#3 Narrow Down Your Focus

Sometimes you have to take away some thing to get effective on the one thing that matters most. Actually, I’m very convinced that the best way to make sure something gets done is to put single-minded focus to it.

Simply doing less of the more important things is not only helpful to actually do something, it also reduces the stress level and makes a more balanced life possible.

Read more in my post: Why Single-Minded Focus is the Only Real Way

#4 Chunk Down Your Project

Paralysis is often a result of making your project too big in your head. It feels so big and diffuse and almost scary in a way, so you never really start.

Maybe something is really on the table for you? For me, when the project is really what I want, I tend to over-think and over-analyze big time. It’s the trap of perfection where you want to have it perfect since it’s so important for you. Mixed in comes the fear of rejection, when you fear that people don’t like what is so important for you, or even don’t like you eventually.

Those are all “clever” tricks your mind is playing on you to keep you from taking action. So one way to counter this is to break the project down into smaller chunks, smaller results you can achieve faster. This way you are also experiencing more smaller successes and build positive momentum again…

#5 Just Do It

Sometimes there is nothing more to say. Nothing more to read. Nothing more to understand. Nothing more to think.

Doing is what is needed. So just do it now!

About the author Myrko Thum

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4 Comments

  • sondra nielsen

    December 4, 2012

    I stop and think so I can adjust my sails.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    December 4, 2012

    @sondra, indeed you can see the whole thing the other way around too, as you are pointing out. It depends on what kind of personality you are: the think first, then do OR the do first, then think. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I tend to be the thinker, who sometimes needs to push themselves to stop over-thinking and start doing :)

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    December 5, 2012

    Myrko-

    On this advice I was able to clean my house. That is saying something bro. I am a terrible planner. Thinking for me is digging into the abstract and realizing, intellectually, some sort of insight about reality. Great for top of mountains, not so useful for down here in the valleys. My valley thinking is no good. Get lost in all these trees. Another thing I did last night, prompted by your perfect timing, was that I came across a youtube video of a silva technique creating an aspiration, or vision log, of where I want to go, and what I want to accomplish. I started it. It ain’t perfect, and I stole his section titles, but hey, he is a happy millionaire and I am not.

    Thanks for the good work, and please wish me useful valley thinking,

    Zack

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    December 6, 2012

    Zack, very cool. Keep going in your valley and on to your mountains too! :)

    ReplyReply

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