My husband and I have been trying to finalize plans for a long weekend away for several months now. It feels like we have literally been on every travel site that exists, investigated flights on every airline, read hotel reviews from every brand, checked weather forecasts in every time zone, and compared more rental cars than any human being should ever have to consider.
We’ve perused concert schedules, theatrical productions, and sporting events, looked at spa rates and greens fees, and pored over menus from countless restaurants in every genre. In our quest to find the perfect plan, we’ve also created far more spreadsheets than I care to admit.
If you’re not a planner by nature, then none of this will make sense to you because you are probably the kind of person who just hops in the car with an overnight bag and figures it out as you go. I, on the other hand, was born without that particular spontaneity gene and after fifteen years of marriage, I fear I’ve all but converted my incredibly accommodating husband to my laborious planning habits.
I’m well aware that when it comes to this little trip, no matter where we go or stay, it’s the time together that matters, but that’s not stopping me from overthinking this decision!
It feels like there is a perfectly optimized plan just one more Google search away and if I’m persistent enough, I WILL FIND IT and emerge victorious, with my golden itinerary clutched in my hands!
What if I’m just overthinking it, yet again?
I know I’m not alone in this because I see this quest for the perfect option over and over again in the women I coach as they sort alternatives and build spreadsheets galore to analyze job offers, relationship partners, business ventures, and yes, even vacation plans.
The sheer number of options for everything available to us today is exacerbating the issue. For the over-thinkers among us, online shopping is not our friend. Gone are the days of only being able to buy one of the sweaters available at your local department store or even within your local mall! Now there are a near-infinite number of options available, and deciding among them can be daunting.
Here’s the paradox, though.
Save but a few, most of the decisions we’re agonizing over don’t have only one right answer anyhow.
So the next time you find yourself opening a spreadsheet to compare choices or opening one more search window convinced an even better option will reveal itself, ask yourself:
Am I overthinking this?
If the answer is yes, take a deep breath and make the best choice you can from the options you’ve already considered.
An earlier version of this post first appeared on the Let Your Life Shine blog in October 2015.