Too Many Ideas? How To Choose Where To Focus Your Time
Summer is such a crazy season of changes.
Maybe you’ve been feeling like it’s time to pivot in a new direction or get started down a new path.
One of the hardest parts of transitioning can be figuring out what to do with all of the options.
Usually the problem isn’t that you don’t have any ideas, as much as having way TOO MANY many ideas and not knowing which is worth pursuing.
I’ve gone down so many bunny trails thinking I wanted to pursue something new….
Like that time I wanted to go into social work because I did a college report on the foster care system.
Or that time I thought I wanted to get back into dance and open a studio.
Or the even more recent experience of wanting to become a sign-painter and create typography murals.
If you’re a creative type and multi-passionate about a lot of different areas, how are you supposed to focus in? How do you know what’s worth your time and what is just a mix of FOMO and shiny object syndrome?
I’ve asked these questions more times than I can count. So since I deal with it on the regular, I decided to set up some guidelines to help me figure out what to do when there are too many ideas and options.
Create A Trial Project
This is the fastest way I’ve been able to honestly ask myself, “Is this idea a solid one, or just a passing fancy?”
Creating a trial project or a mini opportunity to ty it out.
Coming up with a grand vision is fun but actually making it happen is a little more eye-opening.
Having a trial project can quickly help you know the answers to questions like… “Am I good at this? Could I do this repeatedly for years? Can I deal with the obstacles or will I want to quit when things get hard?”
Once you’re actually putting the idea into practice, it gives you a taste of whether it would work or not.
My latest case of the sign-painting was a perfect example. My husband and I decided to create this giant mural on my wall as my trial project.
Seeing my work large scale on the wall is really fun.
But let me tell you! After days and days of slowly adding to it, my eyes were definitely opened to all of the difficulties. It was super hard to keep going!
I learned that I have zero patience for painting. I couldn’t WAIT to be done.
Each section we added took an hour or two and was a lesson in self-discipline. If my husband wasn’t so methodical and encouraging, it probably still wouldn’t be done today.
Another thing this trial project helped me realize is that this project was MY own idea and a design I really liked. I had to picture what it would be like to work on something like this for weeks that I may not even LIKE. How would I get the motivation to keep going then?
It was a clear answer: creating type murals as a job was not for me.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Once a trial project passes the test and you’re certain you could do this idea regularly for work and LOVE it, the next thing to do is market research.
Are there people who need this?
Are the people who need it able to afford it?
If they can afford it, is it enough of a pain point or desire that they’d be willing to pay the cost for it?
Are there clear opportunities available?
Find A Mentor
One last thing you can do to make your idea full-proof is find yourself a mentor who is currently carrying out your idea or has done something similar before.
Ask them the hard questions.
What are the obstacles? What are the things you’ll need to be aware of? What do they think of your skills or what do they think you need to learn?
That way you can take giant leaps ahead and be sure you won’t be wasting your time.
Ideas to Save For Later
But what about all of those other ideas floating around in your head?
One thing I do with random ideas is create a “Save For Later” list.
Maybe now isn’t the best time to get back into a hobby, change majors, or start a new career path. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make more time for it or become a volunteer in that field later. Set it aside to focus on the ideas that make the most sense for right now.
Once you’re no longer paralyzed with too many ideas, you can really focus on prioritizing the best one!
Do you struggle with too many ideas? What decisions have kept you paralyzed? Share in the comments!