I recently switched careers. I went from the accounting field to information technology. In my new role, I am a Business Analyst. I did a lot of research and planning to make the transition. After being lost a very long time, I FINALLY feel I have found a fit for my skill set and personality. Truthfully, I am not very technical (or at all) and I always thought of my self more as the creative type rather than analytical. But this role plays really well with my OCD tendencies. Sometimes a little too well…
I was working on some new processes and showed them to my boss for feedback. I put together elaborate slides with diagrams, comparisons, and outlined almost every given scenario based on all of the information I gathered. My goal was to get sign off and birth a new process. She appreciated the work that I did but called me out for overthinking for this specific type of project where a more iterative approach may be more applicable with some built in flexibility.
“Some things you can’t answer right away and some things need to evolve organically”.
At first I was a smidge offended and wanted to fire back and say “ANALYST is my job title and I analyzed the shit of this!” I also wanted to trash all the work I did and start from scratch because all I was hearing was how my work was all wrong.
I didn’t argue and I didn’t trash my work. I kept an open mind and listened. Deep down I knew she was right and as much can constructive feedback sting, I like the lessons they provide. Once my ego recovered, I realized overthinking and over planning can be bad as not planning enough.
That is when it really hit me. I am like this with a lot of things in my everyday life. I have a tendency to really beat the proverbial dead horse.
I overthink some of the smallest things like where to go for dinner or what I should pack on a vacation. I get more in the weeds with the bigger decisions I need to make. I made a damned flow chart to help me decide if I should sign my daughter up for traveling soccer in our home town or do recreational soccer in a neighboring city. Don’t even get me started on what I did to map out preschool options for our children. I have an ulcer for a reason.
Sometimes with my overthinking and over planning I get complete analysis paralysis and shut down. I have a tendency to plan for perfection and when things don’t go off like I envision them, I chalk it up as a failure and quit. In other words, I can be a complete shit show.
I can see that overthinking is my hurdle with health and weight loss. It is a vicious cycle: I decide to commit to work out certain number of times per week, eat in a certain way (paleo, keto, etc.), AND follow a training program to the letter. There is no flexibility built in because I want to hit a goal by a certain date.
THEN…Someone brings cake to work or I forget my lunch or a friend wants to meet for drinks or schedules change or I am completely stressed out…
When things like this come up, my resolve is completely out the window. I have the cake, I do the drinks, or I grab dinner on the fly because we are on the run. Then all bets are off. Since I go off the plan, I REALLY go off the plan. The “start fresh tomorrow” mentality kicks in. Then tomorrow comes and the cycle continues.
This is where my method fails me. THIS is life and THESE are the situations where I need to have some built in flexibility. I am now 75lb overweight and really need to re-evaluate how I am going about losing this weight. Perhaps not planning every single detail is the better way to go.
Wow. I didn’t expect one informal conversation with my boss would be so enlightening.
What did I learn:
- I have issues.
- Overthinking and over planning don’t usually serve me well.
- I am over thinking right now