One of my biggest handicaps is my habit of spreading myself too thin. I have always been interested in too many things at the same time. Add to that a seemingly endless string of thoughts and ideas and it can make for a real mess when trying to get anything accomplished. Sometimes I can’t even get all my thoughts down before I am distracted by another. Now, some people might view all this as a bad thing. A good while back, even I thought it was kind of a bad thing. However, I realized that if I could get a handle on it and improve my ability to focus, it could be a very good thing.
It hit me one day when I heard someone complaining about writer’s block. I’ve heard similar complaints from many people over time about writing, painting, coding, and all sorts of other creative areas. When I got to a point in life where I needed to actually harness some of my ideas, I could see that an endless flood of ideas would be a marvelous thing. The bad news is that this is just the first step… realization.
Realization is a very very powerful tool for transforming one’s self. Next comes doing something about it. So, what does one do in order to harness an incoming flood of thoughts and ideas.
Organization Is Key
I’ve always struggled with organizational skills, but in the pursuit of fulfilling a need, improvements must be made. The need? In general, the need is to turn some of the thoughts and ideas into reality. My thoughts are often leaning towards entrepreneurial pursuits, so there is usually something business-y up my sleeve. I’m not perfect, but I have come a long way. If you are like me and struggle with sorting what is important and what is not and prioritizing what needs to be done, I highly recommend “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. It’s a great way to start down the path to being more efficient and organized.
Aside from reading material to understand the fundamentals of organization, there are a number of tools I have tried while on my path to better focus and accomplishment. The big thing for me was finding a way to capture my ideas and grow them. The ones I have come to settle with are:
- Comindwork Project Management
- Google Drive
There are plenty of others, but those are the ones I have stuck with the longest. I have tried several task list apps, but I always seem to just stop using them. I think that is just a “me” thing though. Then again, lists are second to capturing ideas. However, once those ideas are capture, organizing tasks for growing those ideas into a list is important. So, it comes as a close second.
Evernote, do.com, and Google Drive are all great ways of storing and transferring information as well as collaborating with others. There are various ways to make use of them, and I encourage you to try them to see how they work for you. I won’t go into much detail about them in this post though. As a matter of fact, I am going to pause here to jot down a quick note to myself to make some walk-through videos for these tools.
Ok… done… so hopefully in the near future, you can come back here and see the videos.
So, being armed with knowledge and tools is a great asset and it gets me further down the path to accomplishing the making of ideas into reality, but there is still another important ingredient needed to properly cook this up into something that resembles success. (Sorry for such a long sentence)
Discipline Is Key Too
I know a formula for success that is very simple and very powerful. I plan to talk about this more extensively and in more detail in the future, but I think it is perfect to sort of illustrate my point here. The formula is this:
HOW + WHY + ACTION = SUCCESS
It may seem a bit silly at first glance, but take a moment to take in what this formula really says. After you get it, it may turn from silly to obvious. Surprisingly, though, I think a staggeringly large number of people do not follow this formula in their lives. It is particularly useful in business.
Let me sum up this post up to this point in reference to that formula. There is the “HOW” which is the information I learned from books I have read and the tools I can use for putting it into motion. There is the “WHY” which is my desire to capture my thoughts and ideas and turn them into reality. Then there is the third piece, “ACTION”. This is simply doing it… or maybe I shouldn’t say “simply”. It is hard to just do it; especially if you are a highly distracted person, like myself.
What I have found while on this journey is that it takes something powerful enough to drive a person to action. That something is often times something very personal. Success is defined differently by each person and for each goal. Just like, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is something else I won’t go into too deeply here, but one tip I would like to share is that this driving purpose should not be money. To many, money may seem like the best driving purpose, but in reality, it is just a placeholder; it is just a tool to get what a person truly desires. It is an easy mistake to make, but try not to make that mistake. Always make your “WHY” as clearly defined as you can as well as personally important as you can.
The “WHY” I mentioned above for this post was just a general one to get my point across. I didn’t want to get into the fine details of my driving goals since they are largely specific to me.
I think I may have gone a little off track from my original intent for this post. I have found myself recently falling back into my old ways; getting distracted by thoughts and ideas that keep me from the more important tasks at hand. I feel sometimes I am on the brink of fruition with several different projects, but not quite able to get all the way to the end point. So, I thought I would share that in case the information above might be useful to someone. One of the things that helps me to get back on track is to get the distracting thought out of my head. This is how this post was born. I just had to get a post written and I just had to write about some of the information above and not doing so was just nagging at me.
So, if you are ever working towards a goal and you have another idea just eating away at you, sometimes it is more productive to just deal with the distracting idea and get it out of the way as it will save more time in the long run. Then you might be able to focus on the goal you were originally shooting for. So, with that, good luck in what you do. I hope that some of this was helpful. I know it helped me. Now I am going to get back to what I was trying to do before I wrote this.
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Until next time…
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