For many of us, the biggest problem with decision making is that we overthink it.
We take much more time than needed and agonise over each option before eventually making our decision. In the worst case, we end up procrastinating indefinitely.
There’s nothing wrong with weighing up your options and taking your time making the right decision.
That is particularly true if it’s an important decision with far-reaching effects, like buying a house or deciding what direction your career should take in the coming year.
But there are times when we take much more time than needed to come to a decision. The reason behind it is usually overthinking.
You know you’re overthinking when you keep going over the same few points in your head without making any progress.
At other times, overthinking causes us to second guess our choice after what we thought was a final decision.
When you find yourself overthinking your choices – and we all do from time to time – there are some simple things you can do to stop yourself.
Start by cutting down the options available to you. That is particularly helpful when you find yourself going round and round without making much progress. Often this is caused by you being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice.
Pick your top two or three options and disregard the rest. Making your final decision will become much more comfortable, and you’re no longer distracted by everything else.
Another great tip is to give yourself limited time. If you’ve been thinking about a decision for a while and have looked at it from all angles, it’s time to put yourself under a little pressure and force the choice.
Grab a timer, your watch or phone, and make yourself decide within a minute. You can push yourself into deciding in 60 seconds or less.
If that sounds too daunting, give yourself five minutes and see if that works. If it doesn’t, I encourage you to cut down the time to 60 seconds or less.
It’s amazing how much a countdown timer with just a few seconds left can clarify your thinking and point you to the right decision.
Once you’ve made your choice, stick with it unless there’s a very good reason not to.
Looking back and agonising over your choice is a waste of time and will only cause you to continue to overthink your decisions going forward.
Instead, put your time and energy into implementing your decision. Trust me, it’s a much better use of your time.
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