Of course, some of these are going to be golden nuggets, but most are going to be bright shiny objects that distract you if you let them. Since it can be hard to filter your ideas, here are 5 steps to help you find the gold but leave the rest.
Setup a system to write down your ideas — you can filter them later. If pen & paper works best for you, use a journal or a yellow pad of paper (my favorite). You can also use your mobile device or computer with a note-taking program like Evernote. I also use Trello, because it’s then setup so I can easily sort the best ideas and put them on my active TO-DO list.
The secret is to capture your ideas the same way (or at least add them to the master list regularly). If you wake up in the middle of the night, grabbing a notepad might be fastest, but if it’s not put with your other ideas in the morning you still might lose it.
Set aside time on a regular basis to review & prioritize. You should evaluate against your desired results (business plan, passion & lifestyle). You can’t do everything at one time, so the best way to actually finish as many as possible is to focus on 1-2 at a time.
Putting a great idea on hold does not mean that it’s not important! In fact, if you do actually want to do it, you need to make sure you have the time, money & energy to devote to it. I currently have a project that I would love to do right now, but know it’s not top priority. I’m excited about it, so it’s hard to wait, but I want it to be successful so I’m waiting to have the resources to complete it.
One of the fastest ways to make progress on an idea is to talk it out. Run your idea by your business coach, mastermind group, trusted advisor, spouse/partner or someone else you trust. They can help you take notes, find the golden nuggets, hold you accountable, prioritize and help you determine if it’s a shiny object or golden nugget. You can also record your idea on video or audio and listen to and take notes. Talking about your idea helps you process points that might get overlooked by just writing about it.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Pick the 1-2 best ideas and create S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic & time-bound. It’s easy to say you are working on “a big project” but it will never get done unless you switch to a small task that is part of the larger project. Track your tasks with a tool like Trello. to make it easy to get organized.
There’s no way around it… if you don’t make time for it, it simply won’t get done. Put time on your calendar for your action steps to get done. I recommend using Google Calendar. You can create an additional calendar to plan out when it will get done. This can overlay your other important commitments.
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