How Do I Cope with "Idea Overflow"?
Write down your ideas, forget about them, and put your nose to the grindstone. It's possible to stifle an overactive mind. The personal productivity experts at Stack Exchange offer tips on getting stuff done.
How do I cope with "idea overflow"? My constant stream of new ideas is preventing me from realizing old ones. Specifically, I recently started two big projects. I started from scratch and had to learn a lot to be able to realize them. The problem is, the more I learn, the more new ideas I get and, and the harder it becomes to focus.
It's not just a question of distraction. Sometimes the new ideas improve the old ones. But then before I realize an improvement, a new idea comes to mind.I've tried the "Lean Method," but the problem is that implementation is always too slow. New ideas arise and slow the progress of my project. I've also tried not to start on anything new before finishing old tasks. This, too, hasn't worked.
Any suggestions on how to cope with this "idea overflow"?
See the original question here.
Go Agile (Answered by Guber)
Agile methodologies (such as Scrum) recognize that we cannot know what will happen in the future, and accomodate for this fact by allowing users to periodically review their backlog of things to do. Whenever you come up with a new idea-great, add it to your backlog. Then pick it up for implementation at the next review if you think it's an idea that's good enough. That means something else may have to go.
Generally, you should never select a task and stick to it indefinitely, because the world and your insights change rapidly. Having many ideas
If you believe that you've found something much better to work with, regard the job you've already done on an obsolete task as a sunk cost. The key thing is to try to assess the net present value of each option, and go for the highest one.
Scrum (Answered by superM)
As Gruber said in his answer, Agile methodologies
Once an idea comes to you, write it down somewhere and try to forget about it. The idea might seem brilliant at the moment (or at least better than your current task), but it might not seem so good some time later. Give your ideas time to settle, then come back to them and try to assess them again with a fresh look (probably at the beginning of an iteration when you need to plan the next few weeks).
From my own experience, I worked in a small software company which suffered a lot because of such "idea overflow." We had new tasks before we had completed the previous ones, so eventually nothing was getting done. We had a bunch of incomplete stuff that wasn't working properly. But after we adopted Scrum and followed the key rule (which in our case was the same as I recommend to you: don't change the plans during an iteration), the situation improved significantly and we were surprised at how much we managed to accomplish.
And one more thing that I think could be helpful. Always assume that your new idea
Idea Overflow or Idea Processing Bottleneck? (Answered by Pierre-Yves Genot)
Your mind is a great place to have ideas, not to store them (as said by David Allen
The faster an idea is out, the faster you can resume what you were doing before the interruption. Putting ideas in writing will also give you the opportunity to take some distance, to "sleep on it." You will maybe discover relation between ideas, uncover patterns, and build specific expertise.
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