Ideas. Sometimes they are the stuff that builds empires. Other times they are shiny toys that distract many an entrepreneur from the real task at hand. Whatever the form, ideas – if left unattended and unfulfilled – wither and die.
So what kills good ideas?
It’s usually never a single cause, but a combination of factors. Starting with good intentions with no clear action plan and ending with ideas that get close to completion only to languish in a perpetual state of ‘almost done’. Unfortunately, almost done still counts as not done in the binary language of accomplishment.
How to Get in the Habit of Following Up and Following Through
#1: Start to Finish – Don’t just start things, start them with the intent to finish. It’s sounds easy enough, but in our multi-media, multi-channel world, distractions abound and we often start things with no real intention of finishing them.
Starting with the intention to finish means understanding what it entails to finish. The one simple shift forces you to consider all the necessary steps, how much time it really would take and if you need to seek outside help.
#2: Allocate (Sufficient) Time – Often task lists are created in a time-vacuum, meaning the only way of completing them is if time didn’t exist. Allocate sufficient time to fully follow-up and follow-through on your ideas.
Getting in the habit of allocating enough time to sufficiently follow-up and follow-through will force you to temporarily ‘shelve’ ideas that you don’t have enough time to pursue.
#3: Manage Your Ideas – It’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas (and that’s when all those new ideas become a shiny distraction). That’s why you need to create a system for managing your ideas.
Create an idea filing system to dump your ideas and clear your mind, prioritize ideas and decide if and when to pursue them, and routinely review your idea file so those little gems don’t slip through the cracks!
#4: Make a Plan and a Promise – Ideas are just ideas until they are mapped out in a concrete action plan. Move your ideas from theory to reality by creating a step-by-step action plan that includes timelines and key milestones!
Do yourself the favor of considering your plans a promise. It’s easy to ignore the ever-growing to-do list, but if it’s an idea worth a plan, it’s worth making that plan a promise. Keep that promise and give your idea the chance it deserves!