Productive Thinking: What to Do with All Those Ideas in Your Head

The following post is from Prerna of The Mom Writes:

source: pixabay

My head is often abuzz with ideas. Every book I read sparks a new creative light. Every blog post I go through inspires me to create something. It’s not always work-related. Projects related to the home, crafts to do with my daughter, baking experiments waiting to be tried out. The list is endless and my head becomes a whirlwind of activity.

The thing is that creative surges like these happen all too often and to nearly all of us. With the inflow of a HUGE amount of visual{thank you, Pinterest!} and textual inspiration these days, it is relatively easy to be inspired, motivated and filled with ideas to change our own lives.

However, there are questions that need to be answered so that we actually get something done and don’t lose our mind in the process.

Questions like,

What to do?

Which idea to implement first?

Which area of my life needed the brightest spark right away?

Which idea may not be a “good idea” after all?

Yes, too many ideas is a good problem to have if you know what to do with them. I realized I had to come up with a system to channelize my creative surges and find a way to actually realize at least some of these ideas productively and intentionally.

Here is my 4-step approach to productive thinking when you have too many ideas and honestly, too little time:

1. Have a recording system.

The first thing to do is have some sort of recording system for all those ideas. It can be a simple journal, the Notes app on your smartphone, a fancier tool like, Evernote or Pinterest even. Whatever you do, try not to have too many of your recording systems. For instance, don’t have a journal, a recorder AND Post-Its. If you have to have multiple systems, choose TWO and stick to them.

The idea is that you have someplace to record all those flashes of inspiration so that you have them in ONE handy place to review. {see next step}

2. Review your idea file weekly and monthly.

Every week, spend some time reviewing each idea and sorting it into categories – life, kids, work, home, husband, relationships. I like to keep the categories broad so I have Self, Home, Family, Business. You can create a system that works well for you and your needs.

I also recommend reviewing the file monthly to see which of those ideas you may have already implemented without even realizing it. For instance, one of the ideas I had sometime last month was to create a monthly summer activity calendar for my 5-year old with links to posts that had the craft ideas. I started a simple Word document on my laptop and kept plugging in links I found interesting. When I did my monthly review, I realized I’d already actioned the idea and just crossed it off.

A monthly review is also a good time for a quality audit, which is our next step.

3. Run a quality audit…objectively.

When you’re doing your monthly review of the Ideas file, sort through the ideas and objectively see which ones are the real diamonds-in-the-rough and which ones are well, too rough to be anything. Now this exercise does depend upon the season of your life.

However, there are some basic guidelines that I follow:

  • Will implementing this idea improve the quality of my life/family/business?
  • Will actioning this idea give me immense joy/happiness/money?
  • Will the idea have a good return on investment or ROI in terms of effort investment vs experience?
  • Do I REALLY, like truly, madly, deeply want to do this?

If I answer “yes” to at least 2 out of the 4 questions, I let the idea simmer awhile longer in the file, else I cross it off and move on.

4. Create an action plan and act on it.

My final step and probably the most crucial one to dealing with too many ideas is to create an action plan for the real gems and then, work it. My process is to pick at least ONE idea each month for all 4 categories.  But we all know life as a mom and entrepreneur. Nothing predictable. Some months, it may be just ONE idea in all. Some months, none. Yes, it happens.

BUT once I create the action plan, I focus on working it and bringing that idea to life.

Like I said earlier, not every idea needs this step and some may get actioned without a plan. That is good but having a system in place to be more productive about what I work on and how I do it is always a blessing.

What do YOU think is the challenge of having too many ideas?

Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in being postively productive, parenting with love and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her journey and experiences with productivity and parenting at The Mom Writes.
  • http://happycoupleshop.com Cortney Nichols

    Oh my goodness! What a great post and I stumbled upon it at just the right moment. I’ve been sitting here thinking “Wow”, my mind will just not stop (champagne problems). Thank you for sharing how to handle idea overload.