I get lots of ideas. Often more than I can keep up with or make note of in any kind of meaningful way that allows me to follow through on them. But there are some ideas that simply jump out at me…I mean literally in my face, screaming at the top of its lungs, “Pick me! Pick me!”, like an overly excited 6 yr old in a first grade classroom.
So, to quiet the noise, I put pen to paper, documenting my discovery. Then I read one article on the subject, which inevitably links to another related article, and another. And before I know it, I have bookmarked, saved, and emailed myself more material and research on the topic than I can truly digest. As a result of said information hoarding, I begin to define the “steps” to implementing my idea, which very often includes something to the effect of “brainstorm a list of tasks required to implement idea”. This is typically where my plans to act on a new concept seem to go awry.
Thanks to my information overload, I now have too many options, in terms of processes or methods from which to choose. And as some of you have already guessed, I get overwhelmed by the insurmountable project I have now created for myself. I have exhausted all of my creative juice in trying to assemble an “innovative and all-encompassing” to-do list…leaving not even a spark of energy in reserve to actually bring my idea to fruition. I have literally “brainstormed my idea to death”, laying it to rest in the burial ground of abandoned to-do lists.
Then one day, I realized that we often do this with our lives. We want to change our eating or exercise habits, and rather than just doing it and planning as we go, we make a “to-do list to improve my health” that might look like this: research quality running sneakers, buy new running sneakers, buy new work out gear, research gym memberships, purchase gym membership, make weekly schedule for work outs, research healthy eating plans (“eat clean”, paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian…), make a grocery list, go grocery shopping… And the list goes on. Yet by the time we have actually completed our “brainstorming”, we are far too spent to get off our butts for a 45 minute work out, never mind the extra 45 minutes to cook a good meal – so we opt for takeout.
Before we know it, we have killed all of our good ideas via a process that should really help us “get it done”. Now, I am not downplaying the importance of research or planning, as both are critical to success. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am an avid planner…what they may not know is that sometimes my planning has gotten in the way of my goal achievement. What I am learning to do, and asking you to consider as you read this, is to not get so caught up in the planning, that you miss out on the doing. Because it turns out, that apparently the more you get done, the more you are likely to continue to accomplish.
So the next time you get a lightening strike of an idea, or an epiphany about what direction to take in life, remember that your to-do list is only as good as the action you take. Live life with checked off boxes. And don’t brainstorm your life…to death.
Peace & Love,
P.S. Did this inspire you? Please feel free to comment and share with us!