If you are anything like me, you are always thinking of something new. A new project I want to start, a new skill I want to learn, a new place I want to go. When a new idea comes, I instinctively want to plan out every detail. I'll even stop projects I'm working on to think through new ideas. Ideas have a way of taking over my life.
So, how do you stop them from taking over?
1. Write them down
It is good to have a lot of ideas. According to James Altucher, "Ideas are the currency of life." In his article, The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine
, he advocates writing down 10 ideas every day to exercise your idea muscle. The more often you stretch your creativity by coming up with ideas, the easier it will be in the future.
Writing down the ideas also frees them from your brain. Once an idea pops in my head, I can't stop thinking about it. I keep a notebook in Evernote
just for ideas. When I get an idea, I write it in the notebook. I don't have to think about it anymore and I won't forget it.
2. Only act on the essentials
When you have a lot of ideas, it is impossible to act on all of them. There are only 24 hours in a day. The key is to act on the ideas that are essential to your life. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
, says applying extreme criteria will narrow the list of options and focus your intentions. To determine your criteria, he suggests asking three questions: 1) What am I deeply passionate about? 2) What taps my talent? 3) What meets a significant need in the world? Once you've answered these questions, you can filter your ideas through this standard, only acting on the essentials.
How do you manage your ideas?
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