Wednesday, June 23, 2010

organize your ideas

I often have so many ideas floating around in my head; ideas for my house, ideas for my clients, ideas for dinner, upcoming projects, things I have to do yet, etc. etc. Can you relate? Here are some ideas to take away the feeling of chaos and help you to organize and implement the wealth of ideas you have.

  1. Get all of your ideas out of our head. Don't worry about organizing them yet, just do what is called a `brain dump'. Write down every idea--don't try to do more than get them out of your brain and onto paper.

  1. Create categories for your ideas. Your categories will be specific to you and your situation but could include home decorating, home improvements, craft projects, social activities, family vacations, business projects, and so on. Don't try to do anything more than brainstorm categories for now.
  2. Place your ideas into the categories listed above. Use different colored highlighters to mark each category. Once you have a different color for each category, it's time to go through your list of ideas. Decide which category you think each idea fits into, and then highlight it with the corresponding color. Don't worry if you have ideas that don't fit any of your categories. We'll deal with that next.
  3. Create additional categories (as needed). For those ideas that don't fit your existing categories, let them be your guide for additional categories. Some additional categories might include self-improvement, health goals, financial goals, etc. You can make your categories as broad or as narrow as you choose. Making them a bit broader eliminates having too many categories.

  1. Transfer your lists to a notebook, index cards, PDA, or computer. Remember this is for you--so make it work for you.

  1. Implementing your ideas. Some of your ideas can be moved to a daily or weekly To-Do list and completed in a short time frame. Others might be a bit more complex and therefore require several steps to complete it. In this case, you should break these ideas down into small steps that you can then put on your daily or weekly To- Do list.

As you work through your list of ideas in each category, don't cross them out as you complete them. Instead, highlight each one as it is completed. This will make it easy to see and remember all the things you have accomplished. Also, remember that your lists might change as you complete items and add new ones. Feel free to adapt your category system to best suit your personality and your personal organizing style. This is your document, make it work for you.

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