business storytelling Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs

87 Things You Need to Stop Overthinking Right Now

87 Things Post .jpgBack when I worked with corporate clients, I had one client where the term “web speed” was the mantra.

It was our shorthand for the fact that we needed to keep things moving and not get stuck in the quagmire of endless cycles, needless revisions and general ridiculousness.

Now that I’m out here working on the web with online entrepreneurs, I’m realizing that web speed isn’t always as fast as you may think.

Here comes this week’s ugly bit. The reality is that when you are flying solo (or even with a small team), where we damn well should be hyper agile, we’re stuck in a chronic paralyzing pattern of overthinking things that don’t matter.

Should you become a cavalier loose canyon disregarding thought for everything, throwing caution to the wind like you’ve had one jug too many of Sangria on a hot summer day?

No. But It’s time to stop overthinking everything and get to work already. Read on for the non-official “overthinking it” list based on my non-scientific survey.

The Non-Official Overthinking It List

Following a 100% non-scientific survey in a couple groups I’m in, I’ve got a monstrous list of items that my fellow entrepreneurs from designers to coaches kindly revealed to me. (There are not 87 total, but there is a LOT!)

Scary stuff coming up here…read on if you dare.

It’s okay, I’ll go first.

One item I spend way too much time thinking about is list size. Given the stage of my business my list size is just fine, but all the list size comparing, bragging and boasting makes me think I should have more. It’s enough to make even someone confident start to feel well, inadequate.

I’ve heard the list size conversation compared to worrying about the size of, ahem, parts of the male anatomy.

It’s not the size of the list, but what you do with it, right?

Obsessed With Bullshit Numbers

Jumping off from my list size inadequacies, number obsession is a HUGE issue for a lot of people. From social media likes to list size to Google Analytics…if there’s a number people are all up in it.

Reviewing your web site traffic numbers at 2 a.m. is neither healthy or sane. Wigging out about every single unsubscribe from your list….I’ll stop flogging you to make my point.

Stop the Insanity! (Imagine I said that in my best 90s infomercial Susan Powter voice.)

Measuring all of these things is a necessary part of growing and managing your business and it gives you a tangible way to record progress, but it’s a fine line.

Strategy to Stop Overthinking It: Set a schedule for checking these numbers weekly or monthly so you can see progress but not fall into a trap of fixating on quantity.

Numbers won’t keep you warm at night. You know what will? Quality. Creating real engagement with your clients where you are fulfilling your vision and goals.

Torturing Yourself Over Details

One of my mantras for this year is progress is better than perfection.

Details totally matter, but at a certain point, you’re getting into the murky water of minutiae that no one but you gives a toss about.

A few of the ones I heard from my round-up were:

“Formatting blog posts and spending time on deciding if I should use H2 or H3. This issues holds me back from hiring a VA because I’m not convinced they will get it right.”

“I know there’s a better time of day to send out posts on social media but I get so stuck on the when, I don’t actually get around to doing it.”

“I hand code my Infusionsoft emails so they are perfect.”

I know and love each one of the people who shared their torrid tales of perfection. Believe me, they all know that their actions are not entirely rational.

The sad part of our perfectionist ways is that no one is going to notice and while we pain over the details, we could be selling another package or getting more sleep.

Admitting it is the first step, so I think it’s up to all of us to be more aware of these things and reframe it. Limit your time, or better yet, just stop before you start.

Strategy to Stop Overthinking It: This week instead of making a to-do list, make a stop doing list so you can make better use of your time.

[Tweet “End your overthinkery. Make a stop doing list. New blog post from @magspatterson”]

Copy & Content Roadblocks

This is one I can personally attest to as a copywriter and content strategist. So many of my clients come to me with this exact problem.

Overthinkery abounds when it comes to content. Some jackpot examples to prove my point were shared:

“I wish people knew that things like your title or your program name don’t matter as much as they think they do.”

“Every time I sit down to write I start to worry. Is the style right? The grammar correct? Is my word choice strong enough. And that’s even though I know it will be edited after I’m done.”

Before we have a total moment here together, I am not going to dispute the fact that your messaging, your branding and your copy matter. For me to say anything else would be ludicrous given my line of work.

The real issue is when you let these things become barriers or excuses.

Beware the content roadblocks that keep you from moving ahead….the next thing you know you’re on the lazy river of content creation not getting a damn thing done. (Hey,I know, I love a lazy river, but those are for hot summer days with some SPF 30 and a pair of shades and not your content creation.)

Not getting your opt-in offer done because you’re stuck on a single word in the headline is not what a real pro does. Pick the word and get going on the next thing. That blog post you’re spending 5 hours writing….unless you are a writer by trade, save the draft and send it to your editor.

A task will expand to the amount of time you give it. (And I am not making that up, it’s called Parkinson’s Law.)

Strategy to Stop Overthinking: Creating FIRM dates for your content can help make a huge difference to getting things done. Better yet, set a specific time aside with a start/stop time for when you create content.

Step up and be the boss. Stop letting your tasks expand into all available time because you are overthinking it. If you need it, seek out accountability with a partner or mastermind so you actually get it done. (I’ve got a great beta program, details below to help with all things content too that can help with this whole issue.)

Are you ready to stop overthinking everything? Share your tale of what you are totally overthinking below and what you can do to break away from it!


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