News and Insight

Resources, advice and thought leadership from our experts.

How to Stop Overthinking Every Decision

In our logical minds, we know it doesn’t make sense to spend an hour choosing where to eat during our half-hour lunch or a week to decide which outfit to choose for a weekend event, but we’ve all been there. However, it’s common to hit a point where you want to smack some sense into yourself and might even aggressively encourage yourself to “just make a decision.”

Whenever you’re in a role where your job weighs heavily on making decisions, so many choices drive the focus and strategy for each project you’re involved in. No matter how much you might love your job, the weight that comes with making multiple decisions that can change the course of how successful a company is can be stressful. You might go back and forth over and over, trying to determine what the “right” choice is for every decision.

If you’ve ever beaten yourself up after making a decision or in the process of decision-making, here are 5 ways to stop overthinking every decision.

Stop Striving for Perfection

An obsession with being perfect can often sabotage a clear head during the decision-making process. As a perfectionist, you might get in your own way, genuinely believing there is only one “correct” choice, and if you don’t figure it out, you will fail. To pull yourself out of this debilitating mindset, think through these 2 questions and proceed accordingly.

  • Which decision affects my top priorities?
  • Which people do I least want to disappoint?

Evaluate the Situation & Pick up a Pen

Take a step back by designating time for reflection, not necessarily looking to make a decision, instead just evaluating where you are in the process. During this time, write down your thoughts freely as they come, even if you don’t think there’s any organization to them. You might find out that the simple act of writing things down does bring a structure to your decision-making process now that the thoughts aren’t stuck in your head any longer.

Listen to Your Gut

Think about the times you listened to your intuition, better yet, think of the times you didn’t. Where did that get you? Since your gut feeling is the immediate thought you have about a situation, sometimes that first decision ends up being the best. If the time you have to make a decision is short, consider going purely the intuition route.

Work aside, think of how many decisions you make in a day, from what to wear to what to have for dinner. Don’t drain yourself by overthinking every decision. The more minor decisions you can eliminate, the more brainpower you can save for the major ones.

Avoid Feeling Stuck

If you start dating the wrong person, choose the wrong driving route home, or pick the wrong stock investment, you can always go back. There might be repercussions that come with making a bad decision, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Being wrong doesn’t make you dumb. It’s dumb if you don’t learn from making the wrong decision. In the examples above, you can always break up with the person, take a different route home the next day, or sell the wrong stock investment at the right time.

Sometimes we might feel like once a decision is made, there’s no going back. Stop settling into this mindset and be comfortable with being “wrong.” It’s important to remember that your opinions might change with time and education.

What other tips would you provide to overthinkers? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out Should You Rehire a Former Employee.