How Can Over Thinking Kill Your Productivity?

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
6 min readMay 20, 2020
How Can Overthinking Kill Your Productivity?
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

When you lie down at the end of the day, do you review the day in your mind over and over and over?

Do you think about the decisions you’ve made over and over and over? Does something small and insignificant keep your mind engaged all night?

I think about the conversations I’ve had. I also think about all my interactions as well as all my conversations. I think, think, think.

I already have problems sleeping at night and I’ve commented at times my mind never stops, it keeps moving nonstop.

My inner voice knows me well. It knows exactly what to say to convince me everything I did during the day could’ve been done more effectively. It also brings up things I’ve done in the past and tells me I made all the wrong decisions. My inner voice convinces me all my break ups in relationships were my fault, my financial mishaps — even during the 2008 recession — was the result of my bad decision making, it even convinces me I’m a failure.

I tend to over think. My wife and friends tells me I think too much. There’s a word for overthinking: rumination.

Allison Kranich, licensed clinical professional counselor at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, and Allison G. Johnsen, LCPC, BCC, manager of behavioral health at Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital defines rumination as “the process of repetitively playing negative thoughts in our minds, like a hamster stuck on a wheel.” Overthinking can increase symptoms of depression, elevate your stress levels, and cloud your judgment. The cycle of rumination is exhausting, suffocating, and at the end of the day, fruitless.

While it’s human nature to think things through when making a decision or evaluating a situation, it becomes overthinking when you can’t get out of your own head. You worry about the future, making catastrophic predictions about unlikely events which haven’t happened yet. You also ruminate about the past, beating yourself up about “should haves” and “could haves.” You fret over what others might think of you or let negative self-talk build up in your mind.

Overthinking a tough decision you have to make can also cause problems. Replaying all the options in your head can lead to “paralysis by analysis” or “analysis…

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer