A Day in the life of Overthinking Man

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Overthinking Man goes about his day. He wakes up, and his first thoughts are about work. He first thinks about all the different meetings he has in the day. He thinks about all the deadlines he has to meet, and the terrible consequences if he does not meet them. He then thinks about how it’s also his turn to take out the bin. Overthinking Man sighs.

Once Overthinking Man has finished thinking about all the things that will make his day miserable, he treats himself to getting out of bed. Preoccupied by his thoughts, he jumps into the shower but puts shampoo on his body and shower gel in his hair, cuts himself whilst shaving and pours coffee into his cereal.

Overthinking Man cries in anguish. Why is everything out to get him today, what had he done to deserve it? Overthinking Man realises he is late and rushes for his train. Overthinking Man rushes past, neither noticing the free giveaways being handed out in the street nor the homeless beggar that he has passed every day for the last 3 years.

On arriving to work, overthinking man is greeted by a flood of emails about a lack of plastic cups for a client event taking place in 3 weeks time. Panic ensues. Overthinking Man must go for a meeting with his boss, where surely he will be picked up on this oversight.

Overthinking Man ends up attending the meeting three times – first by going through all the different things that might come up in his head beforehand; second by attending the meeting itself where he forgot about all the things he had thought about before; then a final third time after the meeting is over where he spends the rest of his day being annoyed at an off-the-cuff remark from his boss about the need for more A4 folders in the office.

This comment greatly annoys Overthinking Man. He has spent years complaining about the lack of places to leave his pieces of paper, yet no one paid him any attention. Overthinking Man spends the rest of his day telling all his co-worker at how he’s annoyed by this comment. In return they reciprocate with all their complaints from the last year.

Overthinking Man’s colleague, Underpaid Receptionist always wins this game, as her gripes hark back to things she mentioned in 1986 but still were never addressed.

After a long hard day in which Overthinking Man has spent 80% of his time thinking about something he either needs to do or something that has annoyed him, it is time for Overthinking Man to go home. Nonetheless, Overthinking Man stays an extra 30 minutes to get a few final emails done, even though they could have waited until the morning. This has the added bonus that on the way home Overthinking Man can think about how underappreciated he is despite all the hard work he does.

When Overthinking Man gets home, he sighs in relief. He no longer needs to be Overthinking Man, and can finally enjoy life as he wants to. Except that he finds he has no energy to do anything else, so ends up sitting and thinking anyway. Lacking any willpower, Overthinking Man finds he does not want to cook. Instead, he decides to order a takeaway. Unfortunately he cannot decide what he wants, so ends up scrolling on his phone for 30 minutes. Once he finally chooses, he then finds himself stuck in thinking about what he should watch, which takes another 30 minutes.

Finally, when all pleasures of the evening are done, Overthinking Man can spend the last few hours lying in bed thinking about all the things that annoyed him during the day. He lays awake for another hour or two. Just as he is about to fall asleep, he remembers that he forgot to take the bins out.

Many of us fall into the trap of Overthinking Man – we spend so much time thinking about an action we must take, or about things that might take place in the future. We leave ourselves no time to enjoy the here and now. We are less present, energetic and happy. However, if we can change the relationship we have with thoughts – that they do not need to be something that govern our lives – we can slow down, and start seeing the beauty in life.

How much do you relate to Overthinking Man?

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