How Solopreneurs Can Tame the Boundless Ideas Beast
Sometimes the biggest hurdle to overcome working as a solopreneur is the very thing you’d think would be the biggest asset: ideas.
Most often, we fret about not having enough fresh ideas. Without ideas, our businesses, our blogs, our personal brands would be (yawn!) oh so boring. So we put most of our effort into how to brainstorm better and boost our powers of creativity.
That makes sense.
After all, ideas usually provide motivation and drive us to achieve.
But sometimes, they overwhelm us and scatter our brains.
Not so good.
Ideas can come from anywhere at anytime—not only when you’re on a mission to think of them, but also during random moments when you’re out and about doing this or doing that and when you’re trying to focus on other work.
With ideas run amok, our businesses, our blogs, and our personal brands could end up confusing prospects and clients. Ideas need to flow freely, but we need to reign them in so they don’t overtake us.
Too Many Ideas Syndrome—Are You Afflicted?
Although I couldn’t find any evidence such a psychological condition is recognized by health professionals, Too Many Ideas Syndrome is mentioned in a number of articles and blog posts. Whether or not it’s a true diagnosable malady, it seems an appropriate way to describe how non-stop ideas can detract from your focus and productivity.
A Writer’s Digest article on the topic explains how it can affect freelancers and other folks in my line of work,
“…having too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating to a writer as staring at nothingness, especially if the syndrome causes indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety.”
Are too many ideas pulling you and your business in multiple directions? Here are some ways to tame those relentless rascals:
- Write them down as soon as you think of them.
Putting them on paper gives your brain permission to put them aside for the moment.
- Prioritize them.
As Carrie Wilkerson suggests in her book The Barefoot Executive, “Don’t start so many things at one time that you can’t complete them—so many things at one time that it distracts you.”
You won’t have the bandwidth to act on all of your ideas at one time, so organize them by level of importance and potential impact to your business’s bottom line.
- Get feedback from a trusted advisor.
Some ideas will be winners; some will be losers. Sometimes it helps to turn to someone who understands your business and is vested in your success to ferret out which are one or the other.
- Schedule your projects and tasks—and breaks.
Your mind will have less opportunity to wander if you have a plan for getting things done. Discipline yourself to block out time on your calendar for the specific client projects and administrative tasks you need to complete. Also schedule what I like to call wiggle room—time to tackle the unexpected, catch up if you fall behind, or step away from your work. If you know you have time set aside for breaks when you can indulge your idea-creating powers, you’ll be less tempted to veer off course when you should be accomplishing your to-dos.
Ideas can breathe new life into your small business. In overabundance, however, they can suffocate you if you don’t manage them. How do you stay focused and on course when your idea faucet turns into a fire hose?
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post