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Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to brag, but I am the queen when it comes to overthinking things. I have overanalyzed conversations and situations so often that by the time it all makes sense, the other person has already forgotten what was discussed. I joke that I should put a ten-rupee note in a jar every time I work myself up over nothing, and buy myself a cute hoodie with the proceeds. I'm guilty of this personally (Ask my friends, and they'll tell you), and there have been times when I've struggled with this toxic trait at work.
In addition, to complete all of our responsibilities at work, we usually have other concerns crossing our minds. In such a fast-paced world, we don't have the time to be fretting about all these additional scenarios. All the overthinking takes up so much space in our heads and makes us snail at work. Somedays, I succeed, and the other days I fail. But every day, I make a conscious effort to get better at not overthinking things and stay productive. Here I'm sharing a few things that I have identified over this process, as the reasons for overthinking at work and what I understand to be the most viable solutions to tackle that process.
Perfectionists are detail-oriented individuals at work. However, they have difficulty letting go of projects, delegating tasks, and knowing when good enough is good enough. They could spend too much time attempting to catch errors that don't exist or worry about the job. In trying to exert control and achieve perfection, they focus on the negatives, which hinders progress.
A little inclination towards perfectionism is not a bad thing as it sets high standards, makes way for optimism, and helps improve skills and knowledge. When perfectionism establishes a sense of unhappiness and negatively impacts work productivity, it becomes an issue. In such a situation, we need a shift in perspective. We must not forget that a flawless performance is not a prerequisite for success. Often, finishing a task on time is more critical.
Many of us overthink to protect ourselves from failure. Before deciding to work, we crave certainty that we are making the right decision, to avoid confronting the reality of not achieving what we set out to. Sometimes we are afraid to voice our opinions due to the possibility of being ridiculed; we pass on opportunities because we feel like no matter how hard we strive, we will never be good enough and might also restrict ourselves from climbing the ladder due to our experience with failure.
It is essential to remind ourselves that all negative experiences have some benefits, even if they are hard to see or appreciate. We gain the most knowledge from our losses, not our wins. It's okay to make mistakes or to fail. It is all a part of the learning process and adds to our experience. It is always worth a chance to step out of your comfort zone, as you may never know when you would miss out on a lifetime opportunity.
We tend to switch from one task to the next, type fast, click fast, navigate through applications fast, and all this rushing causes anxiety. Feel that? The fluttering butterfly panicking in your rib cage? If only you could direct that energy into the deadline, you're about to miss. Instead of setting yourself on fire, take a moment to move away from the problem and towards the solution. Ask yourself if there is anything you can reprioritize, any unnecessary task that you can eliminate? Or maybe if someone could be useful to assist you to complete the process in time? Another trick could be to set a deadline for a time sooner than the actual period. This way, you can focus on completing the task, and instead of worrying about the outcome, you will be able to see it as it unfolds.
As crazy as this sounds, create a thinking schedule. Give yourself a time slot to mull over the issue that's been continuously on your mind. Contemplate the worst-case scenarios and let yourself spend some time worrying about unlikely events. You could write words down, take a stroll, or do anything to clear your head.
Often after you make a conscious effort to reflect upon the things that bother you, the knot of a problem is unraveled to reveal a solution you couldn't see first. It is crucial to ensure that you get back to work once this time is up. In case you continue to think about the same thing, you must remind yourself that you can think about it later. This helps you redirect your focus back to the task at hand.
An excellent way to lead life is to enjoy the present and be excited for what is to come. Mindfulness is all about learning to live in the present. If we are continually dwelling on the past or the future, we will not focus on what is. Mindful working is applying focus and awareness to everything you are required to do from the moment you enter your office.
Try to focus on the task at hand and recognize distractions as they arise. This helps increase self-awareness and strip away distractions very early. I know this is easier said than done, but mindfulness can be practiced if one stays consistent with the effort.
We all go through phases. We set far too many expectations on ourselves and give ourselves far too many reasons to think that we are not good enough or that life is so serious. Overthinking everything is something I have been tackling for some time now, and it is certainly not the best feeling. Over time I have realized that specific strategies help me keep my head in a happy place and stay productive, and I hope these help you too. Overthinking is a natural thing to do, especially if you are ambitious and conscientious. So, don't overthink about overthinking. Sometimes it's best to let go.