How To Stop Overthinking Everything And Move Fast

When it comes to life, sometimes our focus is too far down the path of the “how” and “what.” Sometimes, we need to make a decision right now that could have a big impact on our long-term plans and our health. If we can learn to stop worrying and get started with taking action, the results are often dramatic. In my own experience and advice, we need to take this approach even to some everyday choices that appear to have zero impact on our lives.

We are all too quick to focus on what we “should” do and what “shouldn’t” we do – the things that could go wrong and the things that could go right. If you take this approach, for example, to shopping, you might be overly-concerned with what may be in your budget or what colors you might need for the outfit you’re going to wear to a business meeting and you could feel like you’re missing out on some great ideas because you’re being so picky.

One more example: If you’re reading a book you really like, but you’re not sure if you should finish it or pick up a new book instead of keeping at the old one, you could say something like, “I don’t think it’s time to return to the book I just bought.” After all, if you are reading it, don’t you want the new one to last, too? When you’re reading and you notice an interruption – a phone call or a trip or another email – you might react by throwing that book out, thinking, “It’s time to leave that one behind,” or you could say, “Maybe I’ll finish this when I get out of here.”

Or why not do both?

Let’s say there are some things you do have to do every day, like eat breakfast. The things you must do on time, the things you must do without reservation, the things you must make sure you do before noon — it’s time, in other words, to do all these things and do them right. Now, we don’t even have to ask that question. You just do it. It’s as simple as that. The things you don’t have to do on time are the ones that are easy to skip. But, no matter how big each thing is, every day, you take action on the little things — the ones whose importance will be immeasurable in the long run.

Take the example of running. I have run many marathons, including my own. Each one taught me some valuable lesson: first, to appreciate every tiny detail and moment in training, and then to use that knowledge to adjust my training to make it harder and faster than I usually do when I’m feeling good and when it becomes natural to me, as opposed to when I am just trying to get through an obstacle course — and in those moments, I ran really fast because I was focusing exclusively on what was important.

What about my writing? After months of getting better at it, one weekend in October I was writing about a new idea with just the right amount of detail, and I went to my computer at work, just thinking about the idea and letting go of everything else. I wrote my article, and then I had to get ready to leave work the next morning for the marathon. I got to the apartment in just a few minutes, and I went out to the street to eat some breakfast. At that point, I was fully invested in the task at hand. Without pausing for a second, I went over to the coffee table, picked up my computer, and wrote the article I’d been trying to remember, as I usually do.

But after that hour in front of the computer, a big chunk of time had passed, and so, for the rest of the day, I didn’t think about that article. I didn’t think about the fact that I’ve been meaning to write one, or that I should write one or that there’s a deadline. There was, instead, just one big thought in my head, a thought that had nothing to do with anything.

I’m not talking just about focusing all of our attention on our work. You don’t have to ignore some part of your life that you don’t want to be bothered with, or ignore one problem or one issue. You can’t let it be the only thing that makes you feel like you’re making progress — that, at any moment, you should just throw out that coffee table book! It might be too much distraction, though, to give your body the opportunity to just go run around and be active every day with just the right amount of focus.