Patrick E. McLean : Just what it says on the tin.

Self-Defense Against Ideas

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I never run out of ideas. Sometimes it feels that they swarm all over me like insects. Biting me and waking me in the middle of the night, causing me to itch and scratch and worry at them until I am distracted, confused and exhausted.

This is, as you might imagine, a problem. But it’s a problem for several reasons. One, I like sleep. Two, I don’t have time to execute all these ideas. And, Three, most ideas aren’t very good.

This is especially a problem this time of year. I’ve talked to a few friends and they have the same experience. Things slow down, the brain gets whirling, and the next thing you know, you’re going in a bunch of different directions on a bunch of projects you never should have started in the first place. Such is the curse (or one of the curses) of being creative.

But I have come up with a checklist that really helps me weed out ideas and projects I don’t want to pursue. Maybe it will help you.

  1. What’s the project?
  2. What’s the goal?
  3. What’s the plan? (steps)
  4. What do you need to learn?
  5. who else can help you?
  6. What are you afraid of?
  7. Is it worth doing?
  8. Is the goal something you really want?
  9. Will the project reach the goal easily and quickly?
  10. Who’s going to buy/consume/use this?
  11. What’s the very next action?

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