Are You Overthinking This or That, or maybe That or This?

I recently blogged about Procrastination and posed some questions to help you consider why you procrastinate. This week I want to specifically talk about how Overthinking the What Ifs can dramatically delay your decision-making ability.

Does this drama typically play out for you? As you compose an email, rapid fire questions pop into your head for THIRTY PLUS MINUTES when trying to just make a simple statement. Do you hear voices like: 

“Should I say …

I just want to thank you for your help the other day or I am grateful you spent the time helping me understand the facts about Coronavirus, or should I say, you helped me understand the Coronavirus details, or maybe should I say, I had so much trouble understanding how this applied to me and I really appreciate the time you spent telling me about the Coronavirus. Perhaps I should go with the first response, but not sure that tells why I am so grateful. What will they think of me if I am too brief? But if it is too long, then they might get bored, and is the grammar, right?”

“Hmm, should I sign the email, Best Regards, Sincerely, See You Next Week, With Thanks, You Rock? Keep Your Distance?” “I don’t want to sound too formal, but then again, I don’t want to sound too casual. But maybe I should start all over with a different closing statement.”

“Should I send this now, or in the morning, or maybe midafternoon?” 

If this is a familiar scenario, you are probably aware that you are over thinking what should be a quick and easy email. Of course this could be a microcosm for other decision making processes in your life. 

When I coach clients about Decision Making, I ask them to consider the following questions to help them feel more confident in their choices:

  • What is the main point I am trying to make here? 
  • What really matters most about this email?
  • Which statement comes closest to what I want to say/feel?
  • How much time do I really have to spend on this email? 
  • If I were leaving on vacation tomorrow and had to have this sent out by 5:00 p.m., what would I do?

If you want to get the email off your plate but the what ifs are winning the battle, you can always close your eyes and let your pencil or pen fall on any of the choices and go with that. Seriously, Judith Kohlberg, respected guru in the Chronic Disorganization world says to take a dart and throw it at your choices when all else fails. You can always set a timer and once the timer goes off, you just pick one and live with that decision.

I do have another suggestion as anxiety could be seriously at the root of your indecisiveness. I have recently participated in a hypnotherapy session with my colleague Amy Head, MSW, LCSW, CCH, ACE at New Perspectives for Life. This therapy can be a game changer if you find yourself exasperated with ability to conquer the “What Ifs”. You might want to explore the possibilities that can open up via your sub conscious process. You can reach Amy at