Four Tips To Help Prevent Overthinking Strategic Decisions

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.

Jim Rohn

Tips to make decision making a little easier! #strategy #decisions #strategic #mindset

We all make several decisions every day.  What to eat?  What to wear?  What to feed our children?  Which route to take to work?  How much time to spend on Social Media?  The list goes on and on.  We also have the potential to make strategic decisions each and every day. Strategic decisions are important because they can impact us and others.  It’s important to carefully consider options and outcomes when considering strategic decisions. However, thoughtful analysis can easily turn into overthinking which can then turn into paralysis.  In this post, I will provide four tips as ways to prevent overthinking.

Overthinking strategic decisions can be dangerous

I’m sure you’ve heard of analysis paralysis, which is a key problem that develops from overthinking.  Analysis paralysis is when you find yourself “overthinking a situation to the extent that it becomes very difficult to make a decision.” Additionally, missing out on opportunities and increased stress (and even anxiety) can develop from overthinking decisions.  Don’t miss the forest by focusing on the trees!  Too much time spent analyzing a situation can cause us to become so focused on details, that we miss out on the opportunity right in front of us.   The bigger picture is the ultimate goal, whatever the big picture may be.  Over analysis can make it tough to make a decision.  It can cause you to become hesitant to take any action at all. 

Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

Peter Drucker

Stress and anxiety can develop as we overthink.  Life is tough enough.  Your decisions will, no doubt, have consequences.  But overthinking does not help.  It only adds to the burden of a decision.  Second-guessing, third-guessing and fourth-guessing can ultimately prevent us from deciding at all. 

Tips to avoid overthinking strategic decisions

Set A Clear Timeline for Your Final Decision

One of the best ways to avoid overthinking is to set a clear timeline for your decision-making process.  In a previous blog post, I discussed making your goals and having a milestone for goal achievement is identified as one of the key strategies. By having a timeline, you will stay focused and limit the time spent on a decision.  As well as setting a timeline, you need to hold yourself to it.  This will prevent the details from taking over a decision and dragging it out.  If it helps, set some key milestones along the way and measure them to make sure you are heading in the right direction, which is to make that decision.   

Muster The Right Information to Make Strategic Decisions

Gather the right information when making strategic decisions.
Gather The Right Information

In most cases, strategic decisions will require information analysis. In order to make an informed decision, researching, information gathering, and discussions with others will most likely be necessary.  But relevant research, relevant information, and relevant discussions need to be selected and considered.  Be selective in each of these categories as irrelevant information can take away from the push toward the decision.  If information does not ultimately impact your decision, ignore it!

Ask For Outside Perspectives

Above, we looked at the “relevance” of the information.  This should help remove the hold that our thinking has on our decisions.  Outside perspectives will help bring new and exciting ideas to the table.  If seeking information from a friend or family member, they may remind you of the outcomes of similar decisions in the past.  The same goes for a boss or co-worker.  But it’s not just about conversations.  An abundance of information is available at the stroke of our finger. Again, colleagues, trusted advisors, family members, and friends can all be providers of outside perspectives.   

Trust Your Gut

Trust your gut when making strategic decisions.
Trust Your Gut When Making Strategic Decisions

I cannot stress enough the importance of “your gut” when making decisions.  Of course, data and careful analysis are important, but your gut, or “that feeling” is right.  Intuition is a valuable tool that should never be removed from the equation.  Sometimes things will feel right and sometime things will feel wrong.  That is your gut, your intuition.  Your “gut feeling” as a data point combined with other data points will drive you toward the right decision.


Making strategic decisions can be a complex and challenging process, but it’s important to avoid overthinking and analysis paralysis. By setting clear timelines, gathering the right information, seeking outside perspectives, and trusting your gut, you can make thoughtful and informed decisions without getting bogged down in the details. Remember, sometimes the best decision is the one you make and act on, rather than endlessly pondering and overanalyzing.

Tips to make decision making a little easier! #strategy #decisions #strategic #mindset

Collin Harbour

Collin W. Harbour is the Principal Founder of C Harbour Services LLC, a business transformation and strategy company that develops strategic plans by aligning sales and plans with company goals, people and process.

Collin is a client growth and business strategy leader with experience identifying new business opportunities, as well as managing and growing client revenues. Through C Harbour Services LLC, Collin focuses on creating customized solutions that deliver valuable services, allowing clients to focus on their core business. He is a Co-Host of Strike a Chord Live Podcast with his lifelong friend, Marcus Ellis. SACL Podcast is a Motivational and Inspirational podcast, with a mix of Nostalgia and Fun! Harbourtime Strategy Talks is a blog and podcast providing strategic content for companies of all sizes.