Do you suffer from overthinkitis?
In most areas of our lives, we’re rewarded for being chronic overthinkers — like when we do everything we can to keep our kids safe, planning a big event, or getting ready for the holidays. In those situations, overthinking can help us get more done and do a better job.
But when it comes to our blogs? Overthinkitis is a momentum killer!
In the interest of full transparency, I can tell you that I am generally NOT an over-thinker. If anything, I struggle with not thinking things through enough (which has certainly gotten me in hot water once or twice)! But I know this is a huge pain point for many bloggers — and as I’ve watched in EBA, it’s a pain point that causes a lot of problems.
When we overthink things on our blog too much, like what to write or when to post, we get stuck in analysis paralysis. We do a lot of thinking, but we don’t do a lot of doing. We don’t take action and we think so much we never actually get started — which, let’s be real, won’t get us very far.
Here’s the truth: A lot of us use overthinking as an excuse to stay stuck. As long as we’re stuck in the “What should I do? Is this the right choice? What should my next move be?” overthinking cycle, we never have to actually do anything. We don’t have to put ourselves out there, we don’t have to press “publish”, we don’t have to open ourselves up to criticism or feedback.
But if we don’t get our content out there — if we get stuck in the “thinking” instead of the “doing” — our blogs will never take off. We’ll never find out what connects with our readers, how we can tweak our content to make it better, or how to grow our audience.
And I get it. Putting ourselves out there is scary! And that’s what overthinking boils down to — fear. We’re afraid to make mistakes, afraid people won’t like what we write, afraid we’ll fail.
But I’ve got news for you. Blogging is just a series of mistakes and failures. We make a mistake, we fail, we fall down. But then we brush ourselves off, learn a lesson, and keep moving forward.
So, if we want to succeed, we need to move out of “overthinking” mode and into “action” mode. But what if we don’t even know we’re stuck? What if we’re suffering from overthinkitis but have no idea it’s holding us back?
Here are six signs you might be overthinking your content (and, more importantly, tips on how to get over them and move into action mode):
1. You Don’t Make Any Mistakes… Ever
Like I said, blogging is just a series of mistakes and failures. We make a mistake, we learn, we move on.
But if we don’t make any mistakes? Not ever? We’re definitely overthinking things.
Not making any mistakes doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It means we’re not putting ourselves out there enough.
Every mistake has a silver lining — the lesson we learn as a result. And if we never make mistakes, we’ll never learn those lessons. We won’t learn what works or what kind of content connects with our audience. And not knowing? That’ll keep us stuck.
So, if you can count the number of mistakes you’ve made on zero fingers, chances are, you’re overthinking things. Luckily, the solution here is simple: give yourself permission to make mistakes. Mistakes don’t mean that you’ve failed or you’re not cut out for the blogging world — in fact, it’s quite the opposite! Mistakes are the launching pad for your biggest breakthroughs.
So cut yourself a little slack. Make some mistakes. Because the nuggets of knowledge you’ll get as a result? They’re the secret ingredient for a successful blog.
2. You (Still) Haven’t Launched
If you’ve written a ton of content, but you’re holding back on hitting the “publish” button because you’re waiting for the perfect time to launch… Yeah, you’re definitely overthinking it.
We all want to launch at the “perfect” time. But the perfect time is now! Writing a bunch of content that never sees the light of day won’t get us anywhere. And if we wait to launch until the perfect time rolls around… Well, we’ll be waiting forever.
There will always be reasons we can talk ourselves out of launching. We don’t feel ready, or we don’t think we have enough posts, or the timing doesn’t feel right. But if we have a bunch of great content that never sees the light of day, we’ll never hit our goals.
If you’re sitting on a blog and haven’t been able to launch because you’re worried it’s not the “perfect” time, let me be the one to tell you — there’s no better time than right now. So take a deep breath and hit publish. I promise you’ll be happy you did!
3. You Spend More Time Researching Content Than Writing It
Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m a firm believer that we all need to do our research and make sure the content we’re putting out there is accurate.
But if we’re so worried about accuracy that we spend twice as long researching every blog post than we do actually writing it? That’s definitely a symptom of overthinkitis.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be accurate. But remember — this is a blog post, not a dissertation! There’s no reason to spend hours and hours researching a 500-word blog post. By the time we finish the research part, we’re so exhausted that we don’t have the energy to write! Not exactly a recipe for success.
If this sounds like you, pay attention to the amount of time you spend researching vs. the amount of time you spend writing. Track your time using a time-tracking app like Toggl or Time Doctor. If you’re spending a lot more time researching than writing, aim to get more balance. Start off by splitting research and writing right down the middle — for every hour you spend researching, make sure you balance it with an hour spent writing. Then keep chipping away until you’re spending more time writing than researching — or, in other words, more time doing than thinking.
4. You’re a Stickler for the Rules
Now, this section might rub you the wrong way, and if it does, I apologize.
So many of us get stuck in obsessing over “the rules”. We want to make sure we didn’t add any affiliate links where they don’t belong or violate any terms of service or disobey any blogging best practices. For many of us, making sure we’re following the rules can feel like a full-time job.
But I have a personal motto. And it’s this — RULES ARE FOR SUCKERS!
If we’re so worried about following everyone else’s rules, it’s easy to forget about what’s important to us — our own work. And when all we care about are someone else’s rules — to the point where our own work suffers — we’re doing ourselves a major disservice.
Now, don’t worry — I’m not saying you should ignore the rules entirely. I’m just saying, don’t be obsessed by them. Do your best to follow the rules and act with integrity, but outside of that? Don’t overthink it too much. There’s no rule police that will come pounding on your door if you make a mistake. If you accidentally break a rule, it’s okay! You can fix it and move on. But by letting go of needing to follow all the rules, you’ll get more done — and you’ll have more fun doing it.
5. You’re Racked by Indecision
“Should I write a post on A, or would it be better to write a post on B?”
“Is this post good enough to publish, or do I need to go back and do another round of edits?”
“GAHHH, I have no idea what to do!”
Indecisiveness is a classic symptom of overthinkitis. If we’re constantly racked with indecision, it’s hard to get things done because we have no idea what the next best step is. We spend so much time trying to make decisions that we don’t actually get anything done.
This one is another simple fix — simple, but not easy. If we want to move past indecisive overthinking and into action, we need to decide to decide. Choose a course of action.
Will it always be the right course of action? Probably not. But the wrong course of action is still better than no course of action at all. And the more decisions we make, the more we’ll learn to trust our own decision-making process — and the better the decisions we’ll make as a result.
6. You’re Playing the Comparison Game
Perhaps the most dangerous symptom of overthinkitis is the comparison game.
We’ve all been there. We compare ourselves to other bloggers. We wanted to cover a topic but found that someone else already covered it. We had a plan for a blog series, but then we find another similar series… and decide that person did it better. We want to break into a new market, but we’re intimidated because we don’t feel like we measure up.
If comparing yourself to others is keeping you stuck in overthinking mode, STOP! Just stop it right now. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if we want to have a happy and successful blogging experience (and, really, a happy and successful life experience), we have to stop trying to compete.
Stop looking at what others are doing. You have your own unique set of talents, gifts, and experience that NO ONE else brings to the table. So just do your thing and stop thinking about what everyone else is doing — I promise, no one can do things quite like you.
Do any of these symptoms of overthinkitis sound familiar to you? What steps will you take to stop overthinking and start doing? Let us know in the comments below! (And for extra help on this, don’t forget to check out the blog post, How to Create A Yearly Content Plan!)