DON’T OVERTHINK IT
Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life
By: Anne Bogel
Published: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Baker Books
Anne Bogel is best known for her lifestyle blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy as well as her ultra-popular podcast for readers, What Should I Read Next?. She is a book whisperer, a lover of decaf coffee, her dog Daisy, and of course, books. She has written books on her love of reading, reading people’s personalities, and now a book on overthinking, or how to stop doing it.
I feel like this book was written for me at the right time. I’m a classic overthinker. I’m the kind that will wake up at 3:00 AM and rethink or replay a prior conversation, an event, or a situation I was involved in. I will stew about a decision that needs to be made….no matter how small or large (including if I should just get up and go to the bathroom or if I can wait until my alarm goes off) that decision is. I like getting lots of opinions for others and that usually only create more overthinking rather than less. These situations and more are what Bogel addresses in her newest book.
In probably her most popular chapter, Bogel addresses the overthinking that happens at her favorite Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t familiar with TJ’s, they have the loveliest bouquets of flowers and the cutest plants at the store’s entrance. The best part is those flowers and plants are very reasonably priced. You can get a bunch of daffodils for $1.99 or a beautiful bouquet of various stem flowers for $4.99. But, Anne, like many of the rest of us, talk ourselves out of getting the flowers. Yes they are lovely. Yes they are cheap. Yes, I know exactly what vase I would put them in when I get home. But, yet, we don’t buy them because they aren’t a necessity, they aren’t what I came to the store to get, those flowers are not on my list. But, Anne says, #Buytheflowers. Treat yourself once in awhile and bring the joy home. Maybe for you that joy isn’t flowers, but a dish of ice cream, or a car wash, or a bottle of wine. Whatever it is, it’s okay to say “Yes” to the flowers. In fact, I have taken this advice and I recently bought some of my favorite pens in some new fun spring colors and not surprisingly, I smile every time I use them.
I resonated with Bogel’s chapter on decision fatigue. I have felt like I couldn’t make one more decision when we were remodeling our house. I remember feeling that way about choosing the menu for our son’s graduation party. Our minds make hundreds of decisions a day: what time to get up, what outfit to wear, what to have for breakfast, what route to take to work, which book to read next, which email to answer first, etc. I could go on and on with the amount of decisions to make every single day. Most of these sound pretty simple, but sometimes the amount of decisions we have to make can be overwhelming, no matter how simple. Bogel offered examples of having only a capsule wardrobe to simplify the choice of what to wear each day. Eating mostly the same food for lunch every day also alleviates one daily decision. Removing these daily decisions can help us make the bigger decisions not feel so overwhelming.
I appreciated Bogel’s idea that your morning ritual sets the tone for your whole day. So, if your routine involves overthinking, you are robbing yourself of the peace of that morning routine. I related to this idea when I was listening to negative, difficult, or hard-to-listen-to books in the morning. They were books I wanted to read/listen to, but their heavy tone set my day off in a way that wasn’t pleasant and caused me to start the day feeling tense. I now save those books for a different time in my day and try to start the day listening to books or podcasts that make me happy.
These are just a couple of the many tips and highlights I took away from reading DON’T OVERTHINK IT. Even if you don’t feel like you overthink decisions, there are still many takeaways from this book. Each chapter ends with a series of “Next Steps”, featuring deep-dive questions to ask yourself. You can write your thoughts in the space provided in the book or take your answers to a journal. Either way, it gets you thinking deeper about that chapter’s topic and how to change the process that drives overthinking.
Anne Bogel is an author, the creator of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, and host of What Should I Read Next? podcast. Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, four children, and a yellow lab named Daisy.
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Check out my reviews of Anne’s other books: