When it comes to “new ideas” business owners are inundated with them. “Too many ideas and not enough time or help to implement them all!” is a common refrain. A key to success is having a framework for deciding which ideas to pursue and which are just the “next shiny object.”
If you’ve ever thought, “I get all excited and I want to run off and work on the next new idea. I’m a mess with shiny things,” you are not alone. Often, the next idea seems like the best idea . . . especially because it is new.
1) Start at the beginning.
When struggling with which project to do next, I recommend using Stephen Covey’s “Habit: Start with the End in Mind.” Are you clear on the goals for your business and life? What are your priorities and values?
If you aren’t – get clear before continuing. Otherwise, you’ll run in circles doing activities that are loosely related to your goals, but not closely related, which causes a lot of “busy-ness.”
2) Then create a list.
Create a list of projects, those you are currently working on, those you keep putting off, and those that have recently come into your awareness through podcasts and other professional development activities.
3) Evaluate your list.
Evaluate this list of projects in relation to your goals, values, priorities, and dreams. Ask yourself, “Which goal does this project directly support?” (See why it’s important to be clear on your answers to step #1?!) From the projects that directly support your goals, prioritize the top three.
This becomes your new streamlined Project List. Set the remaining projects aside for now. You can revisit this list once you COMPLETE some of your current projects.
4) Create a framework for future decisions.
Imagine – a new “shiny” projects pops into your head. Now what? Do you drop everything else and start working on it? Maybe?!
You need a framework to make a decision based on logic – not the emotion associated with a “new, shiny object”. You want to have this framework in place BEFORE you need to make the decision.
Ask yourself, “What are the characteristics of a new project that would cause me to abandon this one?” Remember, there is a reason you are working on a list with only three projects on it! Adding a fourth will dilute your time, energy and productivity.
Have an idea of what a “better” project could look like while you are excited about your three priorities…NOT when you are excited by the next shiny object!
As each new, exciting, “shiny” object comes into your life, rank that idea against the 3 projects you are already committed to. Would completing this new project get you closer to achieving your goals than what you are currently committed to? If so, consider swapping it out. (Remember, time is finite – you can’t do it all. It’s about choices!)
If not, put this new idea on the project list to evaluate once you finish one of your current three projects.
With these tools in mind, you can create a better productivity plan based on your own vision and needs, without distraction. And as those visions and needs change, your plan can easily adapt!
Want some more planning help? Download a complimentary copy of my Project Worksheet, and define your vision – and your action steps – for your next project!