How to Deal with Shiny Objects and New Ideas

We all love shiny objects.  They are the newest thing in town that everybody is talking about.  The new toys, games, videos, business ideas, social platforms and more.  Who can forget (or maybe remember) Chia Pets, Virtual pets, yo-yos, hula hoops, hula hoops that count how many times they go around and so on.  Each had its place but slowly faded away leaving nothing but a slightly faded memory that brings a smile to our faces when we reminisce.  It won’t be long before we reminisce about the dorks on Twitter promising 2 million pointless followers within a week.  Since I’m the entrepreneurial type that’s always on the lookout for new things, I pass by more shiny objects than anyone can handle.  The question is, How do I handle them?

I like to stay informed of the latest industry news and thought leader’s ideas so I read a lot and listen to podcasts whenever I get the chance including my regular workouts, walks and long drives.  When you absorb that much information, ideas are bound to hit you about how to use new platforms, technology or tools.  Showering works just as well for generating ideas.  So many ideas lead to either wasting a lot of time on things that will never pan out or a whole bunch of decision paralysis.

The Simplest System

I created a very simple system that seems to work for me so I’ll share it with you hoping it will work for you too.  I make a list.  I have one document with a numbered list of ideas.  Every time I have an idea, I add it to the list.  It doesn’t matter if it’s my own idea or someone else’s, a business idea or a way to use a new tool.  I just keep adding them all to the list.  Now the secret to the success of this little system is time.  I keep adding ideas to the list but when I am done, I save the list and leave it alone for a little while.  Once a month or so, I open it up and skim through the list.  Some of the ideas are ridiculous, some are brilliant but will never work, some are decent and can be used in some situations.  If an idea still looks as good to you a month or a few months later as it did when you jotted it down, go for it.  If it doesn’t, you know what to do with it.

It is amazing to read your own thoughts and ideas as if they were somebody else’s.  That is one of the reasons that I love to blog.  I often look back at my archives, read my old advice and am blown away that it was me that wrote it.  You should try this with your own blog and if you don’t blog, try reading a paper you wrote in college.

Another Use of the “Time System”

You can also use this “Time System” to proofread your own work.  The only drawback is that it takes “time” which you don’t always have when working on a deadline.  When working on a project and you are completely immersed in it, you will make mistakes, typos and little errors that you will completely miss when proofreading.  If you wait a few months between writing and proofreading, you’ll catch all the mistakes and do a better job than most editors.

Have you used the “Time System” or something similar?  Let me know in the comments.

Picture Credit: pareeerica