We all have ideas, some more ambitious than others but ideas nonetheless. Sometimes people can become overwhelmed with so many ideas, that they lose track of how to focus on them and just give up altogether and shut down. Odds are, you’ve had hundreds of ideas that never turned into reality. Below is a simple 5 step process that I personally use to manage my ideas;
1 – Write your idea on paper and track it’s progress
Call me a traditionalist, but I find that whenever I write my ideas down on paper, they become more meaningful. I have a notebook filled with ideas for my business, another notebook that is filled with ideas for clients/projects and a third one where only hard data goes. I also use a development ticket system where I share ideas that have already been hashed out and passed the conceptualization process, so our developers can chime in on how realistic those ideas are. I’ve had ideas that do not become a reality for years, others months or weeks depending on the priority and resources available. Write them down, become aware of them, track their progress and start small. Hold yourself accountable for those ideas and never be afraid to get rid of them once they do not fit your model, nothing worse than trying to make an idea work forcefully.
2 – Brainstorming in a neutral environment
Brainstorming is like cooking – you look at the ingredients, you visualize the final product, you find out how long it will take you to accomplish the dish, how you will share or display your dish, etc. But cooking without the right tools can be detrimental to your dish, it is always preferred to cook in a fully stocked kitchen than a campfire (unless you are into that kind of thing). Find a good place to think, a place within your comfort zone where you can make notes, research your idea, find out if it has been done before, how much effort it will take to realize your idea, etc. Brainstorming in a location where there are too many distractions or very little stimulation can be detrimental for your idea and your own personal thought process.
3 – Don’t tell anyone your idea
Not one bit of it – not your friends, not your family, not your pet, not on a Facebook status…no one. Awhile ago I read an article called “If you want to succeed, don’t tell anyone”, you can read it by clicking here. Basically, it mentions that whenever someone shares an idea, the odds of the person realizing the idea decreases. At first, I thought it was a bit over the top, but then I realized that most of the ideas my friends shared with me, never actualized. Same thing for myself. When I started this business, I decided to take the route of building the company up before I would share it with my family or friends. It took effort to not share the long hours I was working, the ideas I was working on, where my weekends were going and why I was adamant about sharing what I was up to. All the hard work paid off and I came out of the business owner closet when I believed that I had reached the point where I was comfortable sharing the ideas I had and how I realized them. Talk is cheap, prove your success and then talk, people will listen and respect you more.
4 – Good ideas start with good intentions
The reality is, most ideas are derived from the intentions of wanting more money, wealth, power, control, etc. Which is why so many of them fail. Ask yourself, what are your intentions behind your idea? What level of fulfillment will it bring you? Does your idea affect other people, businesses, society? Will your idea provide you with any income? Ask yourself where your idea fits in, doesn’t matter if it is in a local or global level. What does this idea mean to you? However, overly good intentions can also be detrimental to your idea, for example, giving away products or services for free can hurt your pocket book as well as your relationships with other people in your industry who may think you are devaluing their own services/products. Building relationships, having realistic ideas and understanding the pros and cons of your idea allow you to make an educated decision.
5 – Just do it, follow through and realize the idea
Seems easy, right? This is where most ideas get thrown out, forgotten and become a memory of regrets and “What Ifs”. Procrastination often takes precedence when an idea becomes too complex, too involved and overly complicated. This is where it becomes overwhelming, you start questioning if the idea is worth it, you say “I’ll start next week” and weeks turn into months, into years and then you realize someone else created the same idea you had, because they prioritized themselves. Want to realize your idea? Sacrifice your weekends, your vacations, your free time and every bit of effort, love, resources and dedication to work on your idea. If you cannot commit yourself to your own idea, if you do not believe in it, no one else will.
I can’t guarantee success with these steps, but they have helped me whenever I have a flood of ideas. Ideas without action are just that, ideas. What helps you prioritize and realize your ideas? Please share in the comment area below or on our Facebook or Twitter page!
This article was written by Paula VonKretschmann
Paula is the strategic analyst and logistics force behind Rare Pixel Design. She specializes in metrics tracking efforts, virtual monetization and new media marketing. Paula currently studies Neuropsychology and Human Centered Design at the University of Colorado Denver. In her spare time she enjoys gaming, gardening and the great outdoors.