Frustrated with Overthinking? 7 Tips to Make Confident Decisions & Become an Action Taker

Ever feel like your brain’s running a marathon you didn’t sign up for?

You’re not alone. I used to jump into action without hesitation, a bit like my first (and only) bungy jump; an exhilarating free fall into the next adventure.

Yours truly, bungy jumping in Faliraki, Rhodes, Greece – circa 1995 (about 23 ish)

But a few years back I felt a shift in my mindset. All of a sudden, the same decisions that years back I would have made mid-air, eyes closed, heart open; began to feel like a life or death situation.

The thrill of diving into the unknown went from seeing where the wind took me to a meticulous calculation of every possible outcome.

And it drove me mad! I’ve never felt so frustrated with myself.

So why the switch? Well, peri-menopause was undoubtedly playing it’s part, but also the changing online landscape, increased competition, and a lot more negativity on social media all joined the party.

But not one to stay in the crane when I could be flying through the air, I embarked on a mission to reclaim my ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach, and here were some of the strategies I put into play, which were a huge help.

If you’re in a similar situation, hopefully they’ll be useful to you too!

1. Prioritise Tasks & Expand the Time Frame.

Too many choices can turn picking a breakfast cereal into a summit on world peace.

Like Greg McKeown said in ‘Essentialism’ – ‘you can do anything but you can’t do everything’.

Let me follow up with a second poignant quote by Bill Gates;

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’

What if, instead of thinking we need to do everything all at once in the next few months; we adopt a longer term view and split our visions into yearly projects?

Start by asking where you want to be 10 years from now and work backwards from there.

This should allow you to prioritise your tasks across a longer time period & reduce the amount of tasks you think you need to do now!

The simple act of prioritising will reduce overwhelm, which reduces anxiety, which reduces overthinking.

2. Use the ICE Framework to Prioritise

The ICE framework stands for Impact, Confidence, and Ease.

  • Impact – Is this a game changer?
  • Confidence – Will it work?
  • Ease – How easy is it to implement?

The goal is to rate your projects from 1 – 10 on each of these questions giving you a score between 0 – 30 for each project.

The higher the score, the bigger priority the project should be given.

For example;

I want to do another bungy jump now at 51 years old;

  • Impact – Is this a game change? (only a negative one to my sanity – therefore 1)
  • Confidence – Will it work? (probably, but I may suffer a heart attack mid air – hmmm – maybe a 2 at best)
  • Ease – How easy is it to implement? (There is a bungy place not far from where I am right now, but with the safety records here in Thailand, not advisable, which means I’d probably have to fly to Oz – therefore not easy at all – Big Fat Zero)

Result – 3 – Clearly not a priority! 😂

You get the idea.

Once you have a hierarchy for your projects, you can start to schedule them over the long term, transforming nebulous decisions into a clear-cut ranking system, allowing you to act with precision and, frankly, a bit more peace of mind.

Once you’ve become clearer on your priorities and tasks, it’s time to take action and reduce the time it takes to go from thought to action.

3. Make Fast Decisions

There’s something liberating about making quick decisions. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid — swift and surprisingly less painful than you anticipate.

I began to adopt the ‘two-minute rule’: if a decision can be made in two minutes or less, I make it then and there.

This keeps the trivial choices from taking up mental space and leaves room for the big leagues.

If a decision can’t be made in 2 minutes it means it’s not a ‘hell yes’ and therefore either isn’t a priority or you’re just not ready to make that leap yet (and that’s ok). Write it in your brain dump book and revisit it at a later stage.

Side note: I still remember the day I was doing the bungy jump and as we were going up in the crane the instructor saying to me ‘I’ll count to 3 and you jump on 3.’ When we got to the top I knew if I hesitated even for a second I wouldn’t go, so I’m pretty sure I heard him say ‘Ok -1..’ and that was it I was out of there! That’s the essence of a fast decision 😂)

4. Embrace Good Enough

This was the trickiest one for me. (I’m still working on it) As a Virgo I’m a natural perfectionist. But perfectionism is a fickle beast. It can motivate us to achieve great things, but more often than not, it paralyzes us.

I’m learning to embrace ‘good enough’ by asking myself, “What does success really look like for this task?” For everything I do I create a clear, achievable benchmark that might not be perfection incarnate, but meets the criteria I set.

For example – ‘you have 1 hour or 800 words to write a post, whichever comes first and once one of the above is met – you’re done!‘ Good enough therefore means hopefully it’s informative, engaging, and reflects my voice, but it doesn’t need to win the Pulitzer Prize.

By establishing what ‘good enough’ entails from the outset, we can aim for excellence without chasing the mirage of perfection.

5. The Power of Positive Constraints

Sometimes, too much freedom can be a curse.

I hate routine and as such give myself a little too much leeway for getting things done. An old mentor of mine Jason Fladlien always talked about ‘setting hard deadlines’. In other words a non negotiable timeline to get something done.

And when you hit the time, good enough was good enough!

Get it done, then get it right’,  he would say.

So, I’m constantly setting positive constraints for myself; time limits for work, set amounts of time for decision-making, and fixed deadlines.

These don’t just create boundaries which help me to organise my day and ensure I have plenty of time for fun and exploration; setting hard deadlines also helps us to focus on the tasks that are going to have the biggest impact on our work, business and life.

We thrive on momentum. Action creates momentum. Positive constraints promote action!

6. Reflection, not Rumination

It’s easy to ruminate on what went wrong, what we didn’t do, where we didn’t succeed etc. But we need to harness the past to fuel the future.

Instead of overthinking past actions, use them as a reflective tool.

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • What can we learn?

This way, the past becomes a stepping stone, not a stumbling block.

7. Action Stations

Lastly, committing to daily acts of bravery is my antidote to overthinking.

By consciously choosing to be brave, whether in small steps or giant leaps, I’m rewiring my brain to act first and fine-tune later.

We need to to reignite our instinct to trust our gut and leap into the new.

This takes time & dedication.

Set just one task every day that moves you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be huge! You don’t need to be the next Philippe Petit (google him).

As an example I gave myself the time I had in a taxi this morning to post on my FB page. I’ve been massively overthinking my socials & so needed to just do & stop thinking about it!

Maybe you need to make a call you’ve been putting off, create a sales page for a product you’re nervous about selling, or reach out to a potential collaborator you admire but have been hesitant to contact.

Every day. Just one thing.

You’re as Good as Anybody Else.

I love this quote;

dr seuss quote - be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

My Mum used to say that to me all the time growing up.

If you’re overthinking, the chances are you’re anxious. And if you’re anxious the chances are your fearful about something.

  • Judgement?
  • Rejection?
  • Crickets?

Whatever it is, you’re just as good as anyone else. Plus you have just as much right as anyone else to get out there and do what you want to do.

Final Thoughts

By weaving these strategies into my daily routine, I’m slowly but surely finding my way back to the dynamic doer I know myself to be.

And if you’re wrestling with similar feelings give these strategies a whirl.

Who knows? They might just be the bungy cord you need to jump back into the free fall of life. (Oh that was a cheesy loop – I’m leaving it in! 😂)

😁😁😁

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