If you’re a perfectionist or a planner, you know overthinking well. Welcome to the club. Obviously, we need to spend a certain amount of time brainstorming and hashing out the details of an idea but sometimes we’re just trying to control all the details or get it just right, and we sink into overthinking which can drain our energy and creativity for a project.

How to shift it? Here are five tips to try:

1) Set a time limit for brainstorming
Give yourself a limited amount of time to brainstorm and stick to it. Set your timer for 20 minutes and create like crazy in that time to see what comes up. You have to be disciplined and not allow yourself to negotiate a few more minutes to ‘get it just right’. Make a pact with yourself to let go of control and go with what comes up. Trust that something will surface in 20 minutes. (And if you can’t stick to the 20 minutes, see tip #3 below.)
2) Find new or unusual ways to distract your mind
If you’re a writer, try drawing your ideas on paper. If you’re an artist, go to your bookshelf, close your eyes and pick two or three books randomly off the shelf. What inspires or surprises you? Stand up and jump around or head outside for a quick walk and breath of fresh air. The shift to doing something physical can help put a stop to endless overthinking.
3) Have a support posse
Have a select handful of people who can be your creative ‘go to’ reality check when you know you’re overthinking something and just need someone you trust to say “Stop” or “That idea is a good one, go for it!’ Just go to one or two trusted advisors, not a whole bunch — that will just keep you in the loop of overthinking and procrastinating. Or join a group that meets regularly to keep you inspired and focused, and can call you on it when you’re in a creative-sucking, overthinking dead zone.
4) Say it out loud
Say, “Hello, my name is _____ and I’m an overthinker,” or just shout out “I’m overthinking this!!!” Seriously. Say it out loud. Get a bit silly with it because honestly, you’re being way too serious. It may seem idiotic but when you say it out loud, it gets you out of your head — and you’ll either hear it and say, ‘Enough of that!’ or have a laugh at yourself, which can really help shift your energy.
5) Execute it
You know the saying, “Just do it”? Well, there’s huge creative value in jumping in and getting something done! Stop tweaking every little thing, let go of some control and just start producing it. You’ll not only feel great that a creative idea is progressing but all that energy you spent creating won’t have gone to waste. You’ll have something to show for your passion and time, and that will help keep your creative candle burning for the next project.


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