“Oh, that’s a great idea! I can definitely write a book about that!”
“Oooh, that sounds fun, I’ll definitely do that this weekend.”
“Ah, that’s smart, better add it to my idea list!”
Are these things you say to yourself regularly? Do you always have a fresh new idea that is just perfect, even though you already have dozens of ideas on backlog?
Maybe, but here’s the real question – do you actually do any of these ideas?
Are you the kind of person who’s loaded with great ideas, yet rarely act on them? In other words, are you all thoughts and no action?
Well don’t worry, cause you’re not alone.
Lots of people are full of creative, inspiring ideas, but struggle to make them reality.
But luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be this way.
You lack a balance between thought and action
People are comprised of two things: their thoughts and actions.
They are separate, yet connected concepts which ultimately define who we are as people. And you’ll find that nearly all life issues arise because you’re heavily biased in either category, creating a lack of balance.
- Do you think too much? You miss out on life opportunities.
- Do you act without thinking enough? You’re actions are reckless.
And as you can probably guess, this also influences your productivity levels.
You’re heavily thought-oriented
Having zero ideas is almost the same as having too many ideas, why? Because in both instances you struggle to take action.
Both situations make it hard to know where to start, you either have no idea where to begin or you have so many options you’re overwhelmed.
(Ever tried picking cereal out before? It’s tough if you don’t have a clue as to your preferences).
So what’s the key to overcoming this?
5 ways to create manageable and actionable ideas
The best way to make sure you can control and execute your ideas, is by having an idea collection system in place and a purpose to filter those ideas with.
And that’s exactly what you’ll get with these tips.
1. Pick your purpose
Each of us has different chapters throughout life, meaning our purpose in life fluctuates.
We may strive to help the poor in our 20’s; focus on our careers in our 30’s; focus on our family in our 40’s; and try to save the planet in our 50’s. And the entire time you might be collecting idea after idea, most likely based on the purpose you currently have.
So what you first need to do is this – pick your purpose. What is it that you want out of life now? What do you want to focus on?
If this is too hard for you, then simply ask yourself what kind of person do you want to be? What does that person stand for? What kind of ideas they have? What are their traits?
Use this ideal version of yourself as a template to filter your ideas through. Would this ideal person like the idea or hate it? If you think they’d have an idea like that, then it’s a keeper. If you don’t think they’d think that, then scrap it.
This process also gets you closer to the ideal version of yourself, which is very much a welcome benefit to the whole process.
You can also condense your current life purpose into a single mission statement, which you can then bounce ideas off of. If your ideas align with your mission statement, then it’s a good idea. If not, then forget about it.
2. Collect your ideas in a single place (Brain Dump)
Now that you’ve got a purpose to filter ideas through, you can start collecting all your ideas in a single place.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you use so long as it’s highly accessible to you, so pen and paper is fine and so is electronic means as well.
(A smart phone is ideal here).
It’s best if you have some sort of category system in place as well, rather than just a single, broad category list.
- Novel writing ideas
- Travel ideas
- New hobby ideas
- Career ideas
The key to making this work is to not allow ideas to simmer in your head. All ideas should immediately go to your ideas lists, that way you’re not constantly swimming in them.
3. Review, reduce, and batch similar ideas weekly
We’ve gotten all the ideas out your head and into a tangible setting, now what?
Once a week you should go over this list and start reducing them as much as possible. Only the best ideas are allowed to remain, that way you only work with quality.
Five ideas per category is a worthy goal, though three might be better. Since we want to get away from the creative overflow that naturally occurs within you, less overall goals is something you should strive for in these weekly reviews.
Be ruthless here, not all ideas are created equal. Only the ones you really want to do should remain.
Make sure to batch any similar ideas together, this’ll provide you with an “idea-cluster” to base your actions around.
(Keep reading to find out what that means).
4. Turn all ideas into 2 actions (current action, and next action)
Now we’re going to take your ideas and turn them into something useful, actions.
Take a look at each idea you have and add a single action next to them. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I suggest you pick the easiest/simplest action you can think of, that way you’re more likely to do it.
- Write a novel – Brainstorm 3 book ideas
- Travel to India – Pick a time of year to travel
- Take a painting class – Pick a day to take classes
Afterwards, add this next to it – (NA-next action). In place of “next action,” you put whatever you think is the next logical step in the process.
- Write a novel – Brainstorm 3 book ideas (NA-Outline the first 3 chapters)
- Travel to India – Pick a time of year to travel (NA-Find the cost of tickets)
- Take a painting class – Pick a day to take classes (NA-Find available classes for that day)
This provides you with just enough direction to keep you moving forward with your ideas. And by keeping the actions limited to two, you won’t be overwhelmed by the potentially large amount of steps needed to accomplish them.
5. Take action on batched ideas
Everything is now setup for success, just pick some of the “idea-clusters” you’ve batched together and put them on your to-do list.
What’s great about these idea-clusters you’ve created is that you can do them in any order you want. This prevents it from feeling too stiff or work like, so your creativity is left undisturbed.
Over to you
How do you manage your ideas? Does your system make it easy to act on them? Leave a comment below with your answer because I’d love to hear it 🙂
Image via StartUpQuote