Has this ever been you?
You are stealing a few minutes from whatever it was you were doing (Pinterest?), or should be doing (paying attention on an endless conference call?), to quickly Google a thought you just had about your business idea.
One link leads to another and 20, 40, 60 minutes later you emerge from the rabbit hole, dazed, confused and frustrated. The worse thing is, you return to your normally scheduled life feeling a smidgen smaller and less confident than before.
Park It. Schedule It. Capture It. Value It.
In your phone or planner, create a Parking Lot - a list for all of your questions or inspirations that arise at odd moments - you know, in the grocery store aisle, at 3 AM, during a meeting. Quickly jot your thought down in the Parking Lot and go back to the task at hand. Your inspiration is safely tucked away.
The advantage to an electronic file is it's easier to sort it later. But, if a running list on paper in your agenda works better for you in the moment, go for it. Just try to pick ONE place.
There are many note-taking apps, if you have an iPhone it came with Notes. I use Google Keep, it's free, searchable, works on all gadgets (i.e. cross-platform), and integrates with Google docs easily, too. It also has a checklist mode for those of us who like to check off boxes.
Which is just about all of you, I would guess. (Have you ever created a to-do of something you already did just so you could check off the box? Yeah, me too.)
There are other list app options in the App Store. Some people swear by Evernote - it didn’t work for me, for this idea anyway. I tend to overthink things, so if there are too many levels for organizing - folders, sublists, subfolders - I waste time trying to make it too pretty at this “gather” stage. The main point is to keep it simple.
For one month, schedule a consistent time to answer one or more of your questions - i.e. research your idea.
Start where you are at - is it once a week? Every couple of days? Half day on Saturday? You decide.
Darren Hardy, an uber-successful success coach, schedules 90 minute no-distraction jams and I have found them to be totally amazing for maximizing focus.
But if all you have is 15 minutes, that's fine. Just pick an easier question to answer.
Set a timer to avoid getting lost in the Interwebs. A timer reminds you to focus. If the timer goes off and you are in the middle of some really juicy relevant stuff, you can likely reset it for a few more minutes.
Remember, this is not supposed to be a draft of your business plan. You are in gather mode.
Create a document called “Really Great Questions and Answers About My Amazing Idea”.
Yes I want you to call it that. Blame it on me if it feels silly.
This should be an electronic file - its critical later that you can search and re-organize the information. Save the links, copy and paste, make your own notes.
Don’t try to fit in working on your idea between other stuff. This creates anxiety because you haven’t given yourself permission to focus.
Questions? Do you have a system that keeps you on track? You might make someone's day by sharing it in the comments below!
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