Are there times when you suffer from too many ideas – sort of an “ideas overload”?
If you’re anything like me, when you feel energised and in the flow, your brain can be coming up with brilliant potential plans left and right.
And while this can be great for any brainstorming sessions, in life and in business, too many ideas that we’re desperately trying to hold on to usually means lack of focus and poor execution.
So how do you decide which ideas and points on your to-do list to let go of, and which ones to keep?
Start from a clean slate
If you don’t use an app, a diary or some sort of tool that holds on to your plans, then that would be your first step.
Make sure all those brilliant ideas aren’t just freely floating in your head, making you obsess about them. Write them all down and allow yourself to stop thinking about them for a couple of days knowing they’re safely stored and aren’t going anywhere. This will allow you to get some distance to everything that has been brimming in your head.
Decide on your destination
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: the true first step to achieving the life that you want and making your dreams come true is becoming crystal clear on what it is you want.
Wandering around without a destination in mind is rarely going to result in you ending in a spot you’re happy with.
So GET CLEAR ON WHERE YOU WANT TO BE – either in a few years time, or a few months time – however far into the future you want to look. This will be crucial in helping you figure out which out of your ideas to execute.
The one simple guideline when you have too many ideas:
your inner GPS
Now that you’ve brain-dumped all your ideas onto paper or into an app and you’re clear on where you want to go, there is this one very easy exercise which will help guide you in how to decide whether you should be going ahead with an idea or not:
…Imagine that your destination is a point on a map.
…You are going towards it.
…And now imagine that you turned on your (inner) GPS and you’ve dropped a pin on that destination.
…NOW, take all your ideas and to-do lists to have nearby.
…Go through them one by one and try to imagine yourself getting from where you are to where you ultimately want to be.
…And one by one, see your ideas and to-do’s for what they are: either helpful stops on the way towards your destination, OR detours and distractions that you might be better off avoiding.
The best way of deciding if something is worth your time and energy is checking in with your inner map and seeing if the route aligns with what you ultimately want.
How to KNOW if an idea is helpful to your journey, or if it’s just a distraction
Once you put an energetic pin in a place where you want to go, how can you tell if something you’re considering is getting you closer or further away from what you want?
If you get really quiet, you should feel it in your heart.
Try daily meditation or journaling as tools to quiet your mind and be able to listen to your heart’s voice. I know that if you’ve never ever tried this, then this might sound like the biggest pile of crap, BUT… you won’t know until you try.
We really do hold massive wisdom inside – a voice that can help guide us in any decision. It’s only a matter of practice to learn how to hear that guidance within (by, for example, paying attention to how you feel in your gut about any given decision or idea – without overthinking it).
And when you do take those steps…
– List all your ideas and to-dos out of your head and onto app/piece of paper,
– Decide where you want to go,
– Imagine your destination on a map and check in with yourself for each idea or to-do item to see if it will get you closer to where you want to be, or if it’s your own blend of self-sabotage,
…then you’ll be able to make decisions on what to do next, which idea to execute and which one to declutter from your list – without obsessing, or running around in circles in your head between YES and NO all the time.
Choose your priority
This last point I’m writing as much to myself as I am to you: Choose your priority.
Notice how I said “priority” and not “priorities”?
I have a tendency to assume I’m a superhuman (although I’m not wearing a cape yet) and I can totally handle it if I take on a number of projects at a time.
And then, when it comes to executing ideas or to-dos, I do the same thing and underestimate how much time and effort (and how many unplanned to-do’s) there will be in accomplishing one main goal.
That’s why it’s worth reminding ourselves that we should choose our biggest priority to focus on first. Sometimes it can be two priorities, but I would be cautious about that, because if we increase the amount of things we’re working towards, our focus is split, our execution is slowed-down, and we’re actually wasting a lot of time by switching from one project to another (read about the research on cost in time for switching tasks by the American Psychological Association here).
Research shows that shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time, so it is much more beneficial to do things one at a time, rather than attempting multitasking.
And then, once you’re done with your first bigger project, or if you’ve turned a task into a system and it’s part of your daily routine, only then it’s safe to move on and focus on implementing a different one.
A blessing or a curse? It’s up to YOU!
Having a lot of ideas can be a blessing, or a curse. But it is entirely up to you to decide how you manage your ideas and how you execute, which will in turn determine how successful you are in bringing about your ideas to life.
It was Henry Ford who said:
“Vision without execution is just hallucination.”
And I wish nothing but healthy well-executed visions for you.
I strongly believe that if we all tuned in to that inner voice and inner wisdom we carry in our HEARTS, instead of just taking on goals and plans as dictated by our ego-centric HEADS, we would not only be accomplishing our personal goals more often, but we would be better off as a whole. Because when we look under the hood of those true inner needs and goals, we’ll see that none of them are based in greed, anger or revenge, but in love, safety and seeking joy.
Did you enjoy this article? Then share it with your friends with one of the buttons. And then leave me a comment below: do you ever feel overwhelmed and like you don’t know where to start? Which steps do you need to introduce? If you have any other tools or systems you use to sieve through the ideas and make sure you spend your time where it counts – do tell! I would love to hear from you.
Have a beautiful day, wherever you are,