How to Deal With Too Many Ideas

If you are like me, sometimes you’d think you have a great idea, but then you discover as you are working on it, that it’s not that great. In a way, you spent more time on it than you should have. Today, I’m going to show you a technique I use to test my ideas before diving into a large project.

Write Your Ideas Down

Ideas are useless. They are worth nothing. The fact that you have too many ideas is of no value, so don’t hoard it. It’s important not to wait for a perfect time. You can’t save it for later. You are most likely going to forget it — good or bad.

Yet when you are committed to writing, and not sure which idea to pursue, it can get overwhelming. I know. I’m an idea guy. I have an infinite amount and it’s simply taking up space in my head. 

So recently, I decided to get all my ideas out into the open and bring it into the physical world.

My goal is not to randomly pick an idea and commit to it. I want to test the water on as many ideas as possible. I want to pull them out of my head and see it on paper, and really consider — is this something I want to work on for a long period?

How do I start that? 

First I take a notebook, it can be a blank one or it can be a used one, doesn’t matter, as long as there are still empty pages. 

On each page, I write down the header or the title or the question, essentially the thesis of my idea. Each one of my ideas gets a page or two. I then leave space for me to fill in the details later. I write down as many as I have or as much as the book can fit. Basically, this will be a book of writing prompts. 

Test Your Ideas 

So here’s the fun part. Now I have this small book of ideas with blank spaces for me to expand on it, to start working on it, to start testing out these ideas and see if there is any substance in it. Or if I’m even passionate about the topic.

My goal now is that each day, or once a week or whatever, I will open up to an idea. Next one in line, and start working on it. Here’s a rule: I have to work in order, I can’t go picking my favourite idea to work on at any given time. If I simply flip to a page I want to work on at the moment, I lose the discipline I need to tackle a larger project, especially if it’s a project on that topic. I have to be committed to going through the book in a respectful order. That way I can give each idea a chance. 

I have a page or two to get everything I need about the idea, it can be an outline, it can be the first few paragraphs, however, I approach it, by the end, I should be able to recognize whether this idea has legs. I can transition it into a bigger project, merge it into a work in progress, or I can move on to the next idea in the book. 

I find this to be a great writing exercise and a fantastic way to understand how I feel about my ideas. Most importantly, in the end, I will have a full book of ideas pursued and not simply a brain filled with them. I have something I can actually use whether it can be a part of a bigger project or simply a brainstorming exercise. 

Give this a shot. Let me know what you think. 

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The Impact of Smartphones and Social Media on Our Ability to Make and Keep Plans

Initial planning or planning ahead means nothing anymore. Scheduling events and then adjusting them as the date approaches have always been common, but it has become so convenient that all the communication leading up to the big date does not even really matter. With a click of a button—without an excuse or a doctor’s note—we can bail thanks to the flexibility liberated by technology and the flakiness of the new generation.

My expectations, when I make plans, have changed significantly since I started using Facebook. I was a latecomer to the social networking platform; I was going through this phase where I didn’t want to “conform” with those simply interested in a new fad. Who knew at the time that Facebook would become such a significant part of my life?

What finally got me to sign up was the fact that I felt forgotten. People weren’t inviting me to events because I wasn’t on Facebook. I was left feeling rejected because it was such an inconvenience for others to pick up the phone and tell me the time and place of the event. My friends would be out having fun, while I would be alone, doing whatever I did before Facebook. It was high school all over again.

I gave in. I got Facebook and rejoice. I got invites again.

Flash forward seven years later, now I’m bombarded with invites monthly: My musician friends inviting me to their shows, my semi-close friends inviting me to their birthday parties and even Facebook itself is suggesting events for me to attend. The thrill of receiving an invitation is lost—it feels a bit like spam—and technology began to foster the flakiness of the new generation.

We now live in a world where “Yes” means “Maybe,” “Maybe” means “No” and “No” means “The Hell With You! I’m Way Too Important!” So how can we over come this problem? How do we get people out to our events without sounding like a party-Nazi?

 

Make Plans For Yourself First, Then Invite People

Just because other people are flaky doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time doing what you want.

Example: You really want to see a band. Well, buy your ticket to the concert first and then let your friends know. Odds are, seeing your commitment will convince them that the event is worth going to and therefore they will purchase their own ticket and meet you there. If not, well, this might just be a great opportunity to meet new people that share the same interest or you can sell your ticket for a fair price.

 

Flexibility Won’t Please Everybody, So Be Firm

No matter how many times you adjust the schedule, there will always be problems. You cannot please everybody and you’ll be doomed if you try. Give a few options that work for you, and if a few people are left stranded—so be it—there will be other events in the future.

The more you reschedule the more you’ll test people’s already limited patience and the less likely anybody will show up at all. Be firm!

 

Assign Responsibility So Attendees Feel Needed

Whether it’s with friends, families or colleagues, getting together for an event should be teamwork. You can instantly weed out the flakers from those who are reliable by assigning certain tasks to people.

Generally speaking, people like lending a hand, and they’re more likely to show up when they are feeling needed and their presence really matters.

 

Avoid Breaking Plans You’ve Made Yourself

Events are something people look forward to, so if you need to cancel for whatever reason, do so as soon as possible. The least you can do is allow your friends to salvage their day. But know that every time you cancel or bail on a plan you made yourself, you become less credible in the eyes of your guests.

They will see your flakiness and mirror it, and that might be the root of all the problems.