A guide to choosing your next idea & sticking to it

You have a zillion golden ideas.

Ideas for DAYS!

You’ve written them down in your bullet journal and even jotted them on the backs of napkins from your favorite cafe.

Heck, you might even have an idea jar where you store your ideas up for rainy days.

Coming up with the ideas, now that always seems like the most natural part of starting a new project.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Coming up with the ideas, that always seems like the most natural part of starting a new project.” quote=”Coming up with the ideas, now that always seems like the most natural part of starting a new project.”]

I know that I can come up with ideas all day long, but it’s the executing thing that’s hard.

And with a backlog of things that you’d love to do in your creative business, you might be having a little bit of trouble figuring out where to start.

Or you may have started a dozen new projects, but you might have a hard time finishing any of them.

So which idea do you choose first? How do you prioritize all the things that you’d like to do?

And how on this rotating blue planet in the sky do you finish something? Anything?!

[clickToTweet tweet=”How on this rotating blue planet in the sky do you finish something? Anything?! Check out this post to see how to choose your next idea and stick to it.” quote=”How on this rotating blue planet in the sky do you finish something? Anything?!”]

When you’ve finally decided which project you’d like to run with, why does it seem like such a mystery on how to power through to the end and get that project wrapped up without starting 523 other projects in the meantime?

In today’s post, I’m going to share with you the guide that I follow every time I’m ready to take on a new idea and power through to the end. Hopefully, this guide will help you to choose your next project and see it through to completion.

Choose the idea that is easiest.

I think the definition of “easiest” varies for me when I’m trying to figure out what to write on my blog or when I’m considering which digital product to add to my shop next.

It might be simple because of the amount of time it takes. Or maybe it’s easiest because it feels like I’m in the right place at the right time.

Pull out your list of ideas and scroll through thinking about what jumps out at you the most. Consider why it’s jumping out at you. Is it because you have the supplies you need on hand to complete the project? Is it because you can finish it in one afternoon? Or is it because you did all the prep work and all you have to do is just get it done?

Choose the idea that you know that you can tackle because the stars feel aligned and you feel like you can finish this project ASAP.

Choose the idea that gives you the most joy and excitement.

It’s pretty standard for us to choose the idea that gives us the most excitement. It’s easy because enthusiasm gives us energy. Ride that wave of excitement for as long as you can. Use that enthusiasm to build momentum to power you through, and even consider rewarding yourself throughout the project, adding joy along the way.

When you focus on the positive elements of joy and excitement and ignore the things that usually cause you to become stuck, you’ll be able to charge forward much more comfortably.

I know that when I do the things that bring me the most joy, I can get lost in the tasks for hours. This state of flow is where you’ll want to be.

Give your idea a chance.

It’s so easy to give up when our doubts settle in or when we get to the hardest part of the execution stage.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s easy to give up when our doubts settle in or when we get to the hardest part of executing.” quote=”It’s so easy to give up when our doubts settle in or when we get to the hardest part of the execution stage.”]

When you start to think of all the reasons why it won’t work; when you look online and see that so-and-so already did something similar; when you reflect on your last project’s failure; or when you just are having one of those days where you’d like to turn right back around and go back to the warmth of your bed…that’s when you need to give your idea a chance.

Stop thinking about all the shoulda-woulda-coulda and focus instead on the task at hand.

Immerse yourself in the present moment, in the process of creation and give your idea a chance. You’ll never know if an idea is good enough or if it will succeed if you only give it half a chance.

When you get to the middle your current project, and you get SSS (Sudden Squirrel Syndrome), add your new ideas to an idea jar or write them down in a journal.

Do not allow yourself to pursue any of the new ideas you’ve written down until you’ve done x, y, or z on your task list for your current project.

Use your curiosity for this new idea (that’s tempting you to abandon your current project) as a reward for doing the hard things that you must do to get to the finish line.

I will often take time after I’ve completed my current project’s daily tasks to daydream about a future project. I’ll brainstorm things, but I try never to take action until I’ve done the things that I need to do for my current project.

Realize that focusing on one project at a time will help you to get more projects done in the long run.

I’m a recent convert to the idea of batching and of sprints.

Batching is where you block off an hour or an entire afternoon to focus on one task for a set period. I’ve heard of batching over and over, but when a close friend decided to leap into batching and proved to me how efficient she could be with her time, I decided it was time for me to give it a chance myself.

Recently, I’ve blocked off time to write sales emails. I sat down one evening and wrote three sales emails within a few hours. If I had tried to write those emails amidst doing several different tasks, I probably would have taken the same amount of time to write one email as it took me to write all three.

In fact, I’m currently writing this blog post during a writing block that I’ve carved into my day because a business friend of mine wanted to get ahead with her posts. We are holding each other accountable and checking in after we’ve made it through one hour of writing time. Then we repeat the process over and over for a set amount of time.

A sprint is when you focus on one project over several weeks. You focus on that one project alone and do everything that you need to do within that time to wrap the project up. I made it through several sprints at the beginning of the year, and I got things done!

The bottom line is, when you sit down and focus on one project at a time, you’ll get more done than if you try to do 50 projects at the same time.

When you try to juggle all the things, it will take all your brain power and all of your energy just to move from task to task.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Juggling all the things? It will take all your brain power and energy to move from task to task.” quote=”When you try to juggle all the things, it will take all your brain power and all of your energy just to move from task to task.”]

So choose one project and focus on that project alone until you’ve completed it.

Look at what you’ll feel and what the result or outcome may be if you finish your current project.

Will you feel excited that you finally finished this thing that you’ve wanted to do for the past six months? Will you get new subscribers or make some extra side-income because you’ve finally created a product to put in your shop?

Think about the result and how that can change your life.

Break your project down into several steps that you can take action on over a more extended period.

Let’s say for instance that you want to redesign your website. Redesigning your site isn’t an easy task that you can get through within one afternoon. It’s a HUGE goal filled with many little jobs.

If you break your project down into several different steps, you can block off a period of time to complete several of those actions. You might have one afternoon to do steps one through ten and another evening to complete steps eleven through fifteen.

The point is that whether you have eight hours or two, you can make progress on your goals and move forward with your current project.

Set a timer and don’t look at social media, your email, or cute videos of kittens until the hour is up.

I feel like this is an obvious tip that I’ve read two thousand times, but seriously, when I started implementing this, it changed my life.

I love setting a timer and focusing on the task at hand. When I’ve set a timer and jumped in to do the work (even the hard stuff), I’m usually amazed that the things that I thought were hard weren’t hard at all. And they often didn’t take as much time because I wasn’t clicking around to all my social media channels in the middle of the project.

I don’t know if the buzzing sound has me conditioned to want to do the things or what, but when I’ve followed this method, I’ve made a lot of progress on my projects.

I’ve found that if I do the eight things listed in this post, that I’m able to power through and get things done easily. There’s room for improvement, but I’m super proud of all the things that I’ve accomplished this year.

I look back at my finished Brand Personality Workbook and think to myself that I finally finished up a project that makes me feel super proud.

And I look at my recent launch of my Glam Your Brand course and realize that I’ve moved past the sit-around-and-wonder-what-I-should-be-doing phase into the I’ve-completed-something-and-made-a-profit-phase.

It does feel good when you get things done.

So what project is on your list that you keep sliding to the back burner because another new idea keeps coming along? What are you going to do today to move closer to the finish line? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Bonnie Lecat says

    This is so great, Amanda! Staying focused when you are a creative person sometimes seems like an impossible task!! Thanks for the great tips. I’m trying really hard to complete some of the courses and books I have not completed this year so that I can start fresh and strong in 2018!!

  2. Anita Van Hal says

    Hey Amanda! Wow! You’ve done it again! It’s as if you wrote this blog post for me! I’m going to write down all these tips and keep them in my planner! My uber-planner CAN BE more than just something pretty I like to play in! One of my goals for 2018 is just to have a plan of action that I can stick to…I found an iPhone app that allows me to enter my tasks, and then I can set the amount of time for that task, and a timer runs…it alerts me when my time is up…I can input breaks too, so that I don’t have to sit for hours…the next big thing for me is to set realistic goals…I have been trying to plan out my days since August, and always have way too many things to realistically get done in a day…another “goal” is to quit being so hard on myself when I don’t get as much work done as I want to. Thanks for this! I’m excited to implement these tips!

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