Do you ever get overcome with inspiration? Those insane moments of creativity that result in a flood of new ideas? It can come after you finish a book, attend a course or meeting, or even as you sit at your desk and go about your day as usual.
Lately, I’ve been getting so many ideas for my business that I’ve been struggling to keep up with them all. From marketing and sales, to business development and growth, my mind has been bursting with ideas.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
While creativity and idea generation is great, but sometimes when you have too many ideas and not enough time to implement them you can start to become overwhelmed. Not knowing where to start your ideas means they are left as just that – ideas.
So what do you do when you are overcome with ideas? Here are five tips to help you manage your inspiration and turn those ideas into actions.
1. Let creativity flow
It can be tempting to try and prioritise or dismiss ideas as they come, though resist the urge and let your creativity flow.
You don’t want to dismiss an idea prematurely or miss any other ideas when you are most creative, so let your brain fully purge itself of all ideas.
You will find your ideas are much easier to sort through when you can see them all written down in front of you anyway.
2. Record your ideas
Ideas are flighty, if you don’t give them the attention they demand immediately, they move on. It doesn’t matter how big or small, silly or brilliant, crazy or sensible the idea is, record them the minute you get them.
Use a big sheet of paper, whiteboard, notebook, napkin, your phone or whatever you have nearby when you are inspired.
It’s wise to keep a notepad purely for ideas. If you haven’t been near your notepad when ideas have come, simply transfer them into it to keep them safe and easily accessible.
Don’t think you have to rewrite all of your brainstorms though, simply glue in note pages you have written on or take pictures of your whiteboard brainstorms and either glue them in as well or keep an electronic copy.
3. Walk away
Sometimes the best thing to do after a brainstorming session is to walk away. Leave your office, get out of the house, go for a walk or do something you enjoy that will clear your mind and bring you back to the present moment.
When you give yourself this time, you will come back with greater clarity and you will be more in tune with your priorities, values and what you really want to achieve.
4. Sort and prioritise
Once you have given yourself some time away from your ideas and you have them all in front of you, sort them.
Consider photocopying the page you have written your thoughts down on or taking a photo of your whiteboard before you start so you can be free to highlight, cross out or number your ideas while still retaining your original brainstorm.
When it comes to sorting, first list or highlight all of your good ideas.
Then put a coloured mark against those that are the most profitable, a different coloured mark for those that will help you to achieve your goals faster and another coloured mark for those that will make your life easier. Finally, put an asterisk on those you know have pressing deadlines.
This will help you prioritise your ideas easily, with the highest priority going to those with the most pressing deadlines and coloured marks beside them.
5. Break ideas down and set a timeframe
When you have your prioritised list of ideas in front of you, break them into smaller manageable steps and set a timeframe for achieving each of them.
For those steps that require immediate action, put them straight onto your daily to-do list. It’s also a good idea to record future action steps in your diary or to-do list as well to keep yourself on schedule and accountable.