Have you ever been in the situation where your brain seems to do nothing but come up with new ideas? How do you focus on just one task and idea and complete it?
If you’re anything like me you have insane bouts of inspiration and creativity, at about 2 AM in the morning. You hurriedly scramble to write things down in your diary and notepad, and you’re excited to wake up and get started on all these new amazing ideas.
What happens when you got too many ideas and you don’t know which one to focus on first? In the last month I’ve completed another book (Universe Fuel), developed a new course on marketing funnels (soon to be released), started developing a new piece of software, started a new data and conversion analytics tool, written a blog post every day, continued 2 podcasts and run a the Commando Challenge.
Instantly I know some people tell me that I can do all of this, because I have kids. But in truth the reason that some people are able to do massive levels of action, and others are left wondering how and why? is because of our ability to focus on one task and get it done.
I know what it’s like, you have all these amazing ideas buzzing around your head. You just want to see them come to fruition and you know that they’ll add value to the world.
But when the task seems almost insurmountable when you dig into it, your enthusiasm can begin to burn off. Either your move on to starting a new project. Or, if you’re like me you’ll become too disheartened to work on it for a while.
Our ability to implement tasks and ideas that we genuinely think will change the world, completely relies on our ability to focus on one task at a time.
So here’s my short guide to working on all the tasks and ideas I’ve got on my plate, to completion.
1. Write down my ideas
The first thing I do with any new idea, is to write it down.
This is often the hardest part, putting into words a conceptual idea that I’ve had bouncing around my head. For example, we’ve got a new piece of software we working on. In my head it was really clear how it worked, what it did and how it helped people. But I knew that if I wanted to get it done I would have to write it down.
In truth I don’t think there is a secret to writing down your ideas. I think everyone finds a way that works for them. But it has to start with you beginning to write things down. I basically wrote a really quick, vague and high level document outlining what I wanted my software to do, or what I want my new book to be about.
I might write a few bullet points outlining chapters, or in the case of a course-modules. When it came to the software I wrote a user story which showed how a user would use the software, that I want to develop.
I always have a notepad by my bed, to write down my ideas and prompts. But to start taking it to the next stage you have to write a brief or something which can help you form your ideas. I think we mistake true inspiration for having a fully formed idea in your head ready to go.
Much of the time, we have to continually write and rewrite our briefs and documents in order to better understand what it is we’re building. If it’s a completely new idea, like a business, course, software or plugin, we have to learn what it can do in order to build it.
We have to learn what we expect from our new idea, before we can take it further.
Lots of times, people don’t like to write down their ideas because they are worried that they’ll discover it’s a bad idea. I’ve seen this happen more times than I care to remember. Hell, I’ve even done it a few times. The intoxication of a new idea that could “revolutionise the world”, is too enticing to bother with small details like how it works, who would use it, and how to build it.
Use the writing stage of a project idea, to work out whether this really is something you want to dedicate a lot of time and money too. The interesting thing about writing down your ideas, is that it helps you generate new ideas. I find that a day spent writing out on my ideas will often lead to 5 or 6 new ones. The more I do this, the larger the pool of ideas I have to be able to draw from.
Don’t be afraid to write down your ideas, discover that they’re not that great (or even worse they’ve already been done), and start something new.
If you’re really struggling to write out a high level or vague brief or document. I sometimes use one of two methods.
- Create a sales letter
- Writing instruction set
Writing a sales letter is a really fast way to develop an idea. Imagine the product already existed and you had to explain the problem that solved and why is better than other things in the market. It’ll force you to look at the benefits and results, that your product will provide. While at the same time giving shape, to those who might end up using and buying.
Secondly creating an instruction set, can help you form through the high level process of what your new idea needs. Start at the very beginning from someone buying, downloading or installing your software, course, plug-in or product.
What do they do after they’ve made initial contact? Even if it sounds obvious and high level, write up a set of instructions that help you visualise how someone else will use the product.
2. Get over the honeymoon phase
The place that most people spend their time in is the “honeymoon phase” of a project. They written out their idea and they can begin to visualise just how impactful and revolutionary their new product or services. However most people then don’t move out of this phase.
The reason why people don’t move out of the honeymoon phase is because it becomes clear, how much work is involved in seeing the project through to completion. This is usually where people leave a product or project and come back to it prick periodically to work on it.
It’s also the most dangerous place to leave the project.
The reason is dangerous, is twofold. First, your initial work of writing out the brief and having a clear idea of how it works, can trick you into thinking that you are making progress. Every day your brain is working over the details, but the project isn’t really coming any further to life. In my eyes for a project status, the honeymoon phase is the equivalent of buying a new gym kit, running trainers and writing a running plan.
You’ve still got an enormous amount of work to do before you can run a marathon. The honeymoon phase is the excitement part and the easiest place to get lost in.
The second reason the honeymoon phase is dangerous, is down to coincidence. I don’t believe in God or divine power, but I do believe that when you have a new idea that seemingly was plucked from the ether, the Universe is now waiting for you to put the work in. However the universe is impatient and if someone gets there before you, the Universe doesn’t care who thought the idea first.
How often have you had an idea, only to see that idea realised and come to fruition by somebody else? History is full of people close to inventing something at the same time, one of whom kept hold of their project unwilling to take it past the honeymoon phase.
If you’ve come up with an idea make the assumption, that someone else will also find this inspiration soon. Therefore it is your job to move something out of the writing and honeymoon phase as fast as possible.
3. Share with people I trust
The next thing I do is share my idea with people that I trust. We live in a world of patents, copyright and trade marking. Were all very afraid to share our ideas because we are worried that someone will steal them.
It’s less common than you might think, for someone to steal your idea. Just because you have an idea, does not mean it is so revolutionary, that someone can pick it up and run with it, without a lot of hard work themselves.
Absolutely protect your ideas and don’t make it easier for other people to steal them. But you need to choose a handful of people that you trust, to run your ideas past.
Don’t mistake sharing your ideas, with telling everyone about your ideas. This again tricks you into thinking that you’re making progress. Find two or three people who you trust and have some experience in your field, who you can explain your idea to.
Interestingly, I don’t do this to hear whether they think it’s a particularly good idea. Admittedly I love hearing when one of my colleagues or peers tells me “that sounds a great idea”. However those comments are a dime a dozen. What I want is for someone to question my ideas and challenge me.
It’s easy to become very protective over idea, when it seems like people are picking it to pieces. However, if these are people you trust they are more than likely just bringing up points, that you need to be aware of if you want to make it successful.
I share my ideas with people that I trust, and listen to what they ask.
The main reason I share my ideas with people that I trust, is because I want accountability and to start to weed out poor quality ideas. One of the reasons that people are able to accomplish so much, is because they don’t work on EVERY idea that they have. They put all their ideas through a quality control process, surround themselves with people they trust and eliminate ideas that don’t make the grade.
Often we don’t like to eliminate our ideas, or hear negative feedback, because we are worried we won’t have another idea. Do yourself a favour and start to get rid of your 1st, 2nd and 10th ideas In order to uncover the really killer, golden idea that buried beneath it.
The more ideas you write down, the more ideas you share, the more ideas your think of and discover.
4. Pick one task
Here’s where it gets hard. I pick one task and I work at that task until completion. Sometimes, of course there are periods when I can’t do any more. For example with our software, I’m waiting on our developer to feedback a prototype. There’s nothing I can do here but wait, which are usually users time towards another project.
I don’t think there is an easy way to pick one task. I just know that if you don’t pick one task you won’t complete any tasks. We have a priority within our business Sell Your Service and our agency MeBox, to generate revenue and grow to profit.
Therefore at the moment our projects are all prioritised on the revenue that the project could deliver. More importantly, scalable revenue, through products, courses, books and software is an overall priority. We believe the more we invest into our customer facing services, the less we helping ourselves in the long run.
We’ll pick one task and focus everything on it, because we want to see that if it fails it fails quickly. I’d rather spend six months working on a project that doesn’t work. Than 18 months working on a project on and off to discover it doesn’t work later.
Go with your gut and pick the project that feels right for you. Forget about excitement, the honeymoon phase, initial feedback, and people who say “yes I definitely buy one”. Because that will all run out eventually. At some point the most interesting and exciting idea in the world will seem boring and you’ll wonder why you even started.
You have to commit, work through the boredom and repetition and come out the other side with the completed projects. Commit everything to one task rather than being bitty about 10 tasks. The way to completing more and more goals, is to focus on one and to completion, then moving onto the next one.
5. Stop worrying about losing the idea
I’ve mentioned this a couple of times. But this is really the most important part of the whole process. Everything you do from writing the idea down, to thinking about the idea, to sharing it with other people and eventually working on it. We’ll get you closer and closer to losing the idea.
Either because the project doesn’t work, or it’s unprofitable, or it’s hard work, or it’s already being done. Or, you realise that there just isn’t call for a augmented reality baseball cap which holds your iPhone.
Stop worrying about losing your idea, and focus on working it through and testing it. The market, customers, competitors and investors are going to treat your product much more harshly. You need to test your idea right from conception, in order to make it as robust as possible.
I promise you that if you can have one idea you can have a million. 99% of them are going to be garbage. Don’t hold onto one idea thinking it’s your only opportunity. Write it down, work at it, work it through and make sure it’s the best version it can be.
The world is full of shipped products, that have never been truly battle and market tested. It’s great for a while that they even make it to market, but they hardly last. The more you write your ideas down, and follow this process, the more ideas the Universe will sink into your brain.
Don’t take your ideas for granted, imagine them as discovering a mine and you are slowly excavating new ideas. The more you write down and share,, the more you’ll discover.
If you want to get utter clarity on your life, business, projects or anything else -Make sure to download the free first chapter of my new book Universe Fuel. The chapter is based on how to give you utter clarity on any situation be it long-term or short-term. Sign up below for free to get access.