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15 Types of Overthinking

 , updated on October 18, 2016
Overthinking is a thought process that is overly complex resulting in wasted time, risk due to inaction and poor quality decisions. The following are common patterns of overthinking.


Going too far with abstractions that are detached from actionable realities.


Considering too many factors in a decision without filtering and weighing importance.


Using the decision making process as an excuse to avoid something you don't want to do.

Cold Logic

Using logic for a decision that requires emotion.

Intuition Neglect

Ignoring something you already know.

Premature Decisions

Wasting time and resources thinking about a decision that doesn't need to be made yet.

Irrelevant Decisions

Making decisions you don't need to make at all. For example, thinking about unlikely future scenarios.

Creating Problems

Seeing problems where they don't exist.

Neglecting Speed

Situations where a fast mediocre decision is worth more than a slow optimized decision.

Over Optimization

Tweaking minor details while missing the big picture.

Ambiguity Aversion

Stalling on a decision due to missing information.

Lack of Principles

Establishing basic principles to guide decisions and problem solving tends to make them more efficient.

Paralysis by Analysis

Analysis is a process of breaking things down to their component parts. It is a basic thought process that can be helpful but also risks making decisions needlessly complex.

Big Thinking

Creating gigantic solutions to solve small problems.

Fear of Failure

Going too far to avoid a chance of failure.
Overview: Overthinking
Overly complex thought processes that waste time and lead to inaction and poor decisions.
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Decision Making

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Abilene Paradox
Abstract Concept
Analysis Paralysis
Analytic Reasoning
Benefit Of Doubt
Boil The Frog
Choice Architecture
Cold Logic
Collective Intelligence
Convergent Thinking
Critical Thinking
Decision Analysis
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Devil's Advocate
Disagree And Commit
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Emotional Intelligence
Failure Of Imagination
Group Decisions
Keep It Simple
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Motivated Reasoning
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Normative Model
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Paradox Of Choice
Pareto Analysis
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Reverse Brainstorming
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A few dangers of being too abstract.

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The definition of anecdotal evidence with examples.

Benefit Of Doubt

The definition of benefit of doubt with examples.


The definition of pessimism with examples.

Sanity Check

An overview of sanity checks, a decision making and problem solving technique.

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Overview of preserving ambiguity.

Strategic Dominance

Strategic dominance is your best choice in a given situation.

Maximax Criterion

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The definition of indecision with examples.

Group Decisions

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