Controlling Overwhelming Inspiration

Looking for a good way to organize all of your ideas? I found an article recently by Mike Vardy over at Life Hack that give a great approach to organizing All those project ideas rolling around your head.

In the article, Vardy points out the problem that I’ve brought up in several of my posts that having too many ideas isn’t a bad thing and it seems ridiculous to say that it’s even a problem, but it is when you have too many ideas that distract you from actually doing any of them.

“There’s nothing wrong with having too many ideas. But what you do with them is far more important than just having them. It’s like having a lot of money but not doing anything with it. Sometimes there are just too many options. Choice is good, but too much choice can cause paralysis. If you find that you are an “idea machine” that breaks down once the ideas are supposed to turn into something tangible, there are some things you can do to give yourself a tune-up.” – Mike Vardy, ‘What To Do When You Have Too Many Ideas’

He makes a good analogy here, if your “idea machine” keeps breaking down once you need to do something with an idea, you might need a good tune-up. Vardy’s tune-up consists of a rather simple 4 step process that you can do weekly to keep your ideas moving rather than stagnating. I’ve adapted them here in my own words and understanding.

Step 1:

Create a ‘Weekly Review’ time in which once a week you review all of your ideas you’re contemplating. When you have an idea through out the week, write it down and save it for your review time; let it simmer. At the same time each week, review all of the ideas you wrote down that week and let them stand next to each other to see how well any of them match up or correlate. Any ideas that have stayed in your Weekly Review for more than four weeks, toss them out until a later date because they obviously aren’t a priority.

This Weekly Review time will help you prioritize your ideas and help stream-line ideas that could work together, or at least be worked on at the same time.

Step 2:

Write out a personal mission statement. This will keep you honest to yourself and stay on goal. If your ideas line up with your mission statement you know it’s something you can prioritize and work with, if any don’t work well or conflict with your mission statement you know it’s not something that you could build well and you probably shouldn’t work on it.

Step 3:

Create an idea bucket. Like step one, when you think of an idea put it into your idea bucket. If you have more than one area of importance in you life, (family, work, personal projects) make a bucket for each. During your Weekly Review look in these buckets and see how many are starting to flesh out and which one have actually been worked on. Any that sit in the bucket too long may be discarded as they aren’t currently a priority to you. Vardy points out that this step is much like the first, and could be used in place of step 1, but that he uses both, “because once the idea has simmered and it’s something that I’m intending on doing, I’ll put the idea in the corresponding bucket and turn it into a project when the timing is right.”

Step 4:

Get real! To really move ahead with your ideas you have to be subjective and realistic in your goals. If you’re a college student, don’t prioritize something as big as a full budget film unless you already have the monetary backing andskills required to do such a thing. Take time every week, or day even, to sit down and look at all of your projects and tasks and subjectively think about them in respects to what you can do and what you have to do. This is the hardest step because there isn’t just a formula to follow, you have to be critically honest with yourself and the things you are passionate about, and no one likes thinking anything but fondly for the passions in their life.

 

I have yet to start following these steps my self because I’ve only just found them, but I’m definitely going to start. I’ll let you know how it goes for me. If you are already doing something like this with your ideas let me know how it’s working out for you.

If you want to read Vardy’s full article you can go read it over at LifeHack.org.

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