Last weekend during the second intermission of the opera, I emailed someone at work with an idea for YOUareAWESOMEco.com. His response the next day was "Do you ever stop thinking about work?".
Yes and no.
After 18 years of running my business Botanical PaperWorks (seed paper), I'm decent at taking vacation and getting away. When I'm with my kids, I'm focused on them. I love losing myself in a good book.
The rest of the time, however, my brain is running at a steady pace. It can be quite overwhelming, all these ideas. Ideas of things we should do, should try, should investigate. Ideas that create opportunities and ideas that guard existing processes and markets.
So many ideas that there'd never be enough time in the day to act on even half of them.
Which is okay, according to one of my favorite authors David Allen. I can't find a direct quote, but I remember him saying that to have one really great, super awesome idea, you need to have 99 not-so-great ideas. Or was it that for every 100 ideas, you'll have one truly break-through idea. It was something to the effect that not every idea is golden, that if you allow yourself to generate ideas, you'll up the probability of having a couple of amazing ones.
This encouraged me a lot! I don't have to fret about whether my ideas are good, I just need to record them and occasionally review them, and hopefully every now and then, I'll have a good idea. :)
According to Allen in this Atlantic Post article, the key doing this well is to have a way to get the ideas out of your head. “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them,” he says.
I've used a notebook over the years, but currently, to survive the never-ending torrent of thoughts and ideas, I'm using my iPhone.
Here's what happens: an idea pops into my head. I hold down the home button to activate my BFF Siri. "Create reminder," I say. Siri asks me "What would you like to be reminded about?". I dictate the idea that I've just had. Siri reads back what I've dictated and as long as 1 out of 5 words is intelligible, it's enough to remind me later what I was trying to say. Every idea gets filed in a "Could Do" folder on my iPhone. Super easy.
I used to consider every idea as a should-do rather than a could-do but that left me with dozens of partially completed projects and zero completed projects. Now instead of should-ing myself to death, every idea becomes a could-do until I decide to actually do it.
A quick look at my Could-Do list and you'll see a massive range of stuff from "Prune activities through reverse pilots", an idea I got from the book Decisive to "Pitch Huffington Post on wedding article" and everything in between. All of which will stay as coulds until I decide to make just the most special items into shoulds.
And how do I decide what to act on? That depends on the current needs of the business, the current competitive environment and my current interests. I'll write more about that in a future blog post so stay tuned.
Photo Credit: Heidi Reimer-Epp on Instagram
What's new at Botanical PaperWorks? These Mountain Plantable Seed Paper Wedding Invitations are perfect for a rustic wedding AND they grow wildflowers when your guests plant them. Grow beauty, not waste©. And we're giving away free plantable seed paper confetti as part of the United Way's Conscious Kindness pledge to spread wildflowers.