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When You Have Too Many Ideas and Don’t Know Which Way to Go

laptop notebooks messy ideas

The internet will never cease to amaze me. You can bring your ideas to life with a couple clicks of a couple of keys and voila. Your idea is made real. Or internet-real. Is it an NFT? I don’t even know.

But the thing is: We have this ability to turn our ideas into things that people can consume and use and benefit from — and we can make money, too. Ohhhh, what a time to be alive.

It’s really amazing. And also… it can be overwhelming. You have a million and fourteen ideas and you’re not sure which one to pursue. Throw a little neurodivergence in there and you may play with several of those ideas in a day without making progress on any of them.

I want to break down a couple of things you can do when you have too many ideas for your business and its offers and don’t know which way to go. Let’s get started, shall we?

Go on a walk

Yeah, yeah, I know. It sounds cliche. Don’t bounce away just yet though. Hear me out. When I say “Go on a walk,” I don’t mean a speed walk around the neighborhood to get your cardio in. I mean take a walk. Grab the AirPods, load up that comfort playlist, and just start moving. I do recommend that you bring your phone to take notes, or you can even bring a little nd bowling pencil (like the murder detectives use in those shows I can’t stop watching).

As ideas come to you, jot them down. Don’t try to measure your ideas or really think too far ahead with them. The whole idea is to just get it out. And for the love of peanut butter crackers, don’t forget to give yourself context. Do you know how many times I’ve written things like “Planter” and have no clue what I meant a couple of hours later? Too many. Too. Many.

Note: This works great for business ideas, as well as personal stuff. A good old braindump is just good for the soul.

Get those ideas out there where you can see them

Even if you don’t consider yourself a visual person, I highly recommend that you take those ideas you had on your walk (or while you were cooking copious amounts of pasta) and put them up on a wall or whiteboard. 

I personally love to use butcher paper or Post-It Notes to list out each idea. I use colored pens, markers, highlighters, etc., and just lay it all out in front of me. It probably looks like I’m a fallen-from-grace detective trying to find a killer (I really should stop watching those shows). But it works! When I can see the ideas, it helps me see all the Idea Soup that was in my head. It also gives me more space to expand on those ideas.

I like to leave notes for more context in the Post-Its, so I can start to dig a bit deeper and see what I find.

Evaluate what exists already

This step is vital if you don’t want to just add another spinning plate to your juggling act. Basically, you need to evaluate what you already have in place in your business that is either a.) similar to your idea or b.) able to support the execution of the new idea. 

For example, I routinely forget that I have a variety of systems already in place to house my ideas for future use. 84 notebooks and 7 different project management systems later, I now have a note that says “Remember to check Airtable” when I feel like I have another great idea.
Odds are, that idea is already in my idea parking lot.

Step away from the social media

How many times have you thought, “I should do that!” or “Oh, so-and-so is starting to do this… Maybe I should, too?” Guilty. The social media comparison trap is real, and its teeth are sharp. Even when you have your own ideas percolating in your brain, you might find that you’re constantly comparing those ideas — or updating those ideas — based on what you see. 

Your ideas will reach maturity in their own time, so take a social media hiatus if you find yourself trying to do everything and keep up with the Instagram Joneses.

Chat it out

Do you still feel like you’ve got too many ideas and you don’t know which one to prioritize? I highly recommend hopping on a voice message chain or even a Zoom call with a biz bestie or peer you trust. You can let them know what you’re thinking about and run down the whole list of ideas you have.

As you vocalize your ideas, explain a bit of the context (what inspired the idea, if you know) and also how much of a lift it would be to create said idea. From there, your “objective second party” member may be able to see areas of overlap and pick up themes. This can be incredibly useful in helping you whittle down your best ideas and also pinpointing priorities.

Take a break, Hamilton

When you have ideas that are just gnawing on your thinking organ, it can be really difficult to gain enough perspective to do anything with them. There may also be a component of anxiety fueling your desire to do “all the things.” Yes, my friend, I see you.

When we’re worried about your revenue or we’re thinking about an upcoming lull in projects, we tend to react by overdoing instead of doing a normal amount. If there are other factors in our lives — like a global pandemic, war, family crises, personal relationship drama, cat hairballs, etc. — that anxiety can make us feel like we need to be doing more.

We want to make sure you can separate what’s a business need (i.e. my clients have been asking for this, or this would really address a gap in the market) and what’s a therapy problem. Giving ourselves space, some distance, and some good old fashioned distraction can help.

My personal favorite? Bubble baths and bad movie watch parties. No better way to take a break from the Idea Soup.

Work with a Creative Curator

Sometimes, what you really need is a professional to help you sort through the Idea Soup and find the best ingredients. Someone to curate your ideas and present them back to you on a silver platter. Someone who helps you create a plan to bring the best ideas to life.

Sound like someone you’d wanna work with? Groovy, because I am now booking clients as a Creative Curator.

As a Creative Curator, I’ll act as your creative partner, the one who you can bounce ideas off of, word vomit to, and generally dump your thoughts and ideas on.

Using my specific framework, we’ll sort through your best ideas (and those with room for improvement) together. We’ll also develop a plan of action on projects that can help you show up and serve better.

We’ll set your core values in concrete, get to know your audience like you know the path to your fridge in pitch dark, and work on your biz in a way that aligns with your brain, your audience, and your goals.

Why work with a Creative Curator? Because we all need someone outside ourselves offering perspective and support, and who can catch the holes inherent in our ideas. You’re the expert in what you do, and I’m the expert you need to help you translate that into something your audience resonates with.

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