This post includes tools, tips, and ideas you can start using today to gain control of your ideas and make time to create something meaningful. Remove distractions so you can truly focus. And way too little time actually making the thing. That’s how I completed learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook and a host of other projects that now no longer have a claim on my attention. Remove distractions so you can truly focus Now it’s time to create! The next day, she won’t start on anything new until her list is complete. A few notes about choosing your five things: Make the tasks specific. Or, if you know you can’t do five things, prioritize a few things you know you can do. If you don’t think you have any time to add one more thing, consider this simple concept called 100 blocks. So choose a project (even if it’s small), turn off all distractions, and get to work.
Ideas are easy, but execution is tough.
Can you relate? Do you have lots of ideas but aren’t sure which ones to pursue? Or maybe you start working on something, but then a new idea comes along that piques your interest. You jump to that one and then struggle to bring either project to completion.
Ninety-two percent of successful B2B marketers value the craft of creativity (compared to 74% of the overall sample of B2B marketers), but how do you move from ideas to execution when you’re feeling overwhelmed and your to-do list is overflowing?
While, of course you need to have a laser focus on your content marketing mission, goals, and audience, how are you going to make the time — and find the mental space — to get the work done?
This post includes tools, tips, and ideas you can start using today to gain control of your ideas and make time to create something meaningful.
There are four main steps you need to take in this specific order:
- Make a list of all of your ideas.
- Delete ideas that are no longer meaningful to you.
- Prioritize your ideas.
- Remove distractions so you can truly focus.
Make a list of all your ideas
While ideas are essential for great content, addressing too many at once can be paralyzing. Think of all of the new ideas showing up in our inboxes and in our meetings.
And, as the idea list grows, it becomes increasingly tough to focus. We start to think about one idea, and then jump to another. And then we don’t want to give up any ideas that we have thought about because of the time we’ve invested — and the promise of what could be. Jessica Abel (who I recommend you follow if you are interested in your creative practice) calls this idea debt:
Idea debt is when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.
How do you get past this cycle of idea debt? Start by centralizing all of your ideas in one place.
There are a lot of ways to do this — starting with a simple notebook or spreadsheet — but I’m personally a fan of Trello. Not only can you list all of your ideas, but you can add notes to each one as you think about them in more detail — and then prioritize them with ease.
Delete ideas that are no longer meaningful to you
Once all of your ideas are listed in one place, you need to decide what to remove.
While I am far from a pack rat when it comes to stuff, I sometimes have trouble getting rid of ideas because I think “There could be something there,” or “I might as well finish what I started.”
But, I recently took my own advice and spent time truly going through all of the ideas I had listed and getting rid of A LOT. Some good reasons for shedding an idea:
- Is this idea a duplicate — something similar to what we’ve already done?
- Could this idea be combined with a similar idea?
- Did the idea excite you at one time, but no longer “sparks joy”?
One of the thoughts that helped me let go of a lot of ideas came from Arianna Huffington, in her book, Thrive:
I did a major ‘life audit’ when I turned 40, and I realized how many projects I had committed to in my head — such as learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook. Most remained unfinished, and many were not even started. Yet these countless incomplete projects drained my energy and diffused my attention. As soon as the file was opened, each one took a little bit of me away. It…