How to Stop Overanalyzing & Start Getting Things Done

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Someday Is Today" by Matthew Dicks. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you analyze every last detail only to miss the big picture?

In Someday Is Today, Matthew Dicks shares tips for accomplishing extraordinary things. He discusses ways to maximize your time, efficiency, and productivity so you can become as successful as possible, as soon as possible. One solution is to stop being a perfectionist and a micro-analyzer and just get on with the task at hand.

Continue reading to learn how to stop overanalyzing and start getting things done.

How to Stop Overanalyzing

If you want to learn how to stop overanalyzing, you must figure out what’s truly most important. Dicks suggests focusing on the big picture rather than a task’s details. He explains that people waste time by focusing on small details that they think are important but that don’t really matter. They do so because they desire perfection—they think every small detail needs to be immaculate. However, this wastes time because most tasks and projects don’t need to be perfect—they just need to get done.

(Shortform note: Some experts agree that perfectionism can cause people to waste time by focusing on unimportant, small-scale details rather than essential, big-picture aspects. However, they note that being a perfectionist and focusing on the micro-details has benefits as well. For example, it helps people avoid making silly mistakes and increases curiosity which, by default, increases knowledge.)

To avoid the trap of perfectionism and overanalyzing, Dicks offers two tips:

Tip #1: Stop Worrying About What Others Think

Dicks explains that people often focus on unimportant details—like whether they should wear red lipstick or clear lip gloss—because they’re concerned about how others will perceive them based on their appearance, level of effort, and so on. Realistically, this is a waste of time because people don’t pay attention to these things.

(Shortform note: In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown agrees that overcoming concerns about others’ opinions is critical to eliminating perfectionism, and she presents three ways to do so. First, be kind and supportive of yourself instead of criticizing yourself or imagining others’ criticism. Second, remember that you’re not alone—everyone has experienced feelings of inadequacy, even people you might view as “perfect.” Third, stay focused on the present to avoid getting sucked into negative thoughts that trigger perfectionism.)

Tip #2: Consider the Impact of the Task

Second, Dicks recommends, consider whether doing something will actually impact the end result—if it wouldn’t, don’t do it. For example, adding a fancy border to your work report might make it look nice, but it won’t change the content of the report or whether your boss will understand it. Spending time on this detail is wasteful—disregard it and move on to something that actually matters. 

(Shortform note: Even if completing a task would improve your project, it still might not be worth pursuing if doing so would have other negative outcomes—for instance, if it has a high financial cost for only minimal gain. For example, spending $100 to get your report professionally edited might make its content slightly easier to understand, but it’s likely your report would have been “good enough” even without this expensive intervention.) 

How to Stop Overanalyzing & Start Getting Things Done

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Matthew Dicks's "Someday Is Today" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Someday Is Today summary:

  • Why most people delay taking action toward their dreams and goals
  • Tips for accomplishing extraordinary things in life
  • How to maximize your time, efficiency, productivity, and creative potential

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.