How To Manage All Your Ideas

This is a guest post by Bojan Dordevic from @AlphaEfficiency magazine. Enjoy!
As an avid Idea Pump reader, I am pretty certain that you are awesome at creating and collecting ideas. When I’ve started actively blogging 5 years ago, I was diligent at collecting them. At any given moment, I would have an awesome thing pop up to my mind, and I’d write it down somewhere, on a piece of paper, or in a new text file. At first, I didn’t have “one place” for all my ideas, and they would end up on napkins, or in numerous notebooks and God knows where.

Than I wished that I could be more organized at it, and I’ve started exploring the software that could help me to get to a place where I will have all ideas in one place. As I’ve been collecting them, the list started growing on daily basis. Once you start having a lot of great ideas, you get on a roll. And it made me wonder…

Can you have too many ideas?

When you get such a huge number of ideas, it becomes quite difficult to tackle all of them. When there is too much choice, we get stuck in choice paralysis. This phenomena is famous amongst marketers, and it describes the problem, that people simply won’t buy the products, when they are faced with too many choices.

The less choices we put in front of the consumer, the higher the chances that he will buy.

So yes, there is such a thing as “too many ideas”! Let’s see how marketers described this phenomena:

…the very act of making a choice from an excessive number of options might result in ‘choice overload’, in turn lessening the motivation to choose and in some cases resulting in failure to choose at all.

Having too many ideas concentrated in one place feels like an email overload. As you see, having too many options available at once can make us procrastinate. All the diligent creatives encounter this issue sooner or later. There are too many ideas, and the choice on what to work on can become a reason to procrastinate.

How To Solve The Idea Clutter?

All our ideas need to have their natural place in our mind, and our system. As our minds are designed for creating ideas, and not actually storing them, we are faced with this dual nature of idea. It’s birth is in the mind, but it needs to have its physical counterpart in order to survive the death by forgetting.

If you use simple note taking software, and use a tag, or a single list, you will be faced with the chaos of long lists. These long lists are already plaguing our email inboxes and task managers, which lead us to this paralysis of choice, contributing to the “Real Productivity Problem That No Task Manager Will Solve”.

To counter long lists, I suggest you break your ideas into organic, flexible hierarchies. When you deal with smaller chunks that you can isolate and focus on, you won’t be cluttered with unnecessary ideas. If you limit the branches up to 10 items, you will avoid the potential to procrastinate, and you will have easier time to start working.

Mike Vardy talks about this in his “Productivityst Workbook” in section about “Idea Management”. He calls it a “Creation Idea Buckets”. Pretty thorough guide on how to cultivate and grow your ideas, and I highly recommend it.

Why are ideas so critical?

Nurturing your ideas leads to significant change in your life. Whether you are a writer or an entrepreneur, having clarity of what your desires are, and how they connect with each other, will give you a clear life guide, that you create completely by yourself.

My ideas have led me far in life, and enabled me to have a complete accomplishment of my dreams. Having strong ideas, not forgetting them, and making tough decisions on the ones that I need to abandon was a part of this process. Stick to your ideas, and turn them into a reality.

Productivity blogger at @Centask and senior editor of @AlphaEfficiency Magazine. Loves to write about all things productive and share great ideas.
Bojan Dordevic (g+ url)