WHAT TO DO WHEN AN IDEA COMES

Nubie Yom (WAALI)

“Literally translated as “finger farm.” The home, business, or especially the farm of a person who never finishes projects but rather points out (hence, finger) where he or she intends to start new projects and where things will go in the future.”

When an idea comes to our minds it’s exciting. We want to tell people who may care, and we begin dreaming where the idea could take us. But what typically happens to ideas? We either don’t let them incubate for long enough, don’t put legs to them, or have so many ideas that our minds are cluttered–paralyzed with uncertainty on which one we should even start with. So they stay just that–an idea.

I sat around my office one day trying to figure out how I could capture an idea and give it enough space to prove it was worth being realized. I also wanted to create an out. I’m a goal-setter and if I don’t hit a goal or follow through with an idea, it can get to me. I needed a way to say “it’s okay to let this idea die”. So I came up with this simple Post-It note system.

*Note, I blur out the ideas not because I don’t want to share them, it’s because I’m more successful at completing projects when I do them mostly in secret. There’s a psychological reason for this I talk at length about in my book UNFINISHED.

IDEA BOARD

SET A 'KILL IT OR COMMIT' DATE

PUT IT FRONT AND CENTER

Suaimhneas Croi (IRISH)

“A bursting happiness and peace encountered after a task has been finished and there is nothing left to be done.”

STEP 1: When I have an idea for a large project, I throw it on the bottom row of the board. I use the corkboard because it limits me to 10 big ideas going at once.

STEP 2: Create my First Milestone to be completed. This is usually drafting up an outline for a book, answering a set of qualifying questions such as ‘does this idea exist somewhere else?’ or ‘why do I feel the need to finish this project’.

STEP 3: The EXECUTION STEP. If I don’t complete my first milestone by a set date, the idea gets KILLED and removed from the board. My logic behind this is that if I’m not putting the work in on it now, I’m not going to later either. This makes room for new ideas as well.

STEP 5: I set 3-4 more MILESTONES towards finishing the projects. Usually something very concrete like “finish final draft”. Keep ambiguous phrasing out of your milestones like “have a better draft”.

STEP 6: Mark it complete and wipe it from the board so a new idea can take the place.

 

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