By Dawn Shuler
One of the biggest problems I see with entrepreneurs is what to do with all the ideas they have swirling around in their brains. We entrepreneurs love ideas and possibilities! But if we spin mentally with those ideas and never engage with them, we can get frustrated and overwhelmed.
The trick is to get those ideas, thoughts, concepts, and plans out of your head. But if you’re not a left-brained type, you might get stuck with the HOW to get them out of your head. (And if you are left-brained, or a combo like me, these steps might help you as well.)
See, you MUST get the ideas out of your head. Because you can’t move forward until you do. I think of all those ideas like strings, and they’re all tangled up with one another. So in that jumbled mess, you can’t see where one string goes and leads. It’s all caught up with those other strings.
Once you get that idea, that string, out of your head, you can start to follow the trail to where it wants to go. See where it leads you.
So, let’s get those ideas out of your head. Here are 7 steps to organizing your thoughts and ideas so that you can actually do something with them!
1. Get it all down! No exceptions. Every little single detail, thought, idea. And here’s the part my right-brained friends love: get it down any way you want. This is where mindmapping, storyboarding, index cards come in very handy. You can use outlines and the traditional model of category – subcategory – sub subcategory. Find the method that resonates and works for you. This becomes your Idea Map.
2. Look for themes. What like things belong with each other? If you’ve used a method like index cards, move them around to see if some fit with others. If you’ve typed them up in a document, cut and paste to move them around.
3. What new ideas spring up? Document them. Get them down. Even if you don’t have a place for them yet, don’t let them fly away. Add to your Idea Map.
4. If at any point in this process you feel like writing more detail, follow that energy and get to writin’! Take advantage of the moment and momentum and get content out.
5. Step away. Let all those ideas and their babies sit for a while. As you go along in other parts of your life and business, see what marinates in your head now that you have room (because now you’ve gotten some of that tangled string out of your brain).
6. Come back and view your Idea Map. If the method you used in Step 1 is a very visual one, that visual component has its own creative sparking. If you didn’t use a visual method (like typing it on a document), you can print it out, cut the individual ideas, and move THOSE around.
7. Take the next step. The most important thing to remember about this step (well, actually all the steps, but this is where it’s most likely to rear its head) is to forget perfect. Don’t be thinking about the finished product. Let go of how you envision this idea, concept, or thought coming to fruition. Your job is just to get a draft, a very rough draft, down.
Once you have that rough draft, NOW you have something more tangible that will continue to morph into its final thing. Don’t rush it. Don’t force it.
Let it come into being.