The Best Way To Organize Your Business Ideas
What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is the question that almost everyone encounters when we are still kids.
Most of us would answer depending on what was our favorite toy back then. Sometimes, we love being a doctor to help the sick. Other times,we want to become police to catch the bad guys. Then an astronaut to go to space.
Chances are, most of us did not achieve one of the answers we said those days. We can never be a doctor, a police, and an astronaut all at the same time.
I am pointing this out to show how our plans change constantly. Our brain processes about 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot. No wonder, we get out of focus on what we are doing.
Once an idea pops from our mind, we have this thinking that it is good. And the tendency to jump right into doing it. Only to achieve nothing.
Now that we have grown up, we know better the value of time. And we have more concrete goals. There are a lot of factors that influence how we want our life to be. But the toys that we had no longer are the reason for our decisions.
So you have a lot of ideas right now. All of these thoughts clutter your mind. But you don’t know what to do with them?
In this organization guide, you’re going to learn a simple five step system for staying on top of all of your business ideas.
We all want to be successful in life. Achieve our goals, no matter how small or big it may be. It is still a goal.
But we can only do so much in a day. We only have 24 hours to live each day. And 6-8 hours of that is needed for sleeping.
We are also limited on how our physical body can take the amount of work that is needed to achieve our goals.
The first area that you need to organize is your ideas. Because the battle is always in the mind.
Once, you are focused on the right idea. You can execute it better. And you can achieve better results. Than doing multiple plans at the same time.
There’s nothing worse than having what you think is a great business idea. Leave all that you’re doing. Spend a lot of hours, days, or months. Only to realize that it was not a good idea after all.
Time is gold. But time flies.
Organizing our ideas for business is important in so many ways.
- It saves us time, effort, and money.
- Keeps us healthy by not dealing with too much stress and thoughts.
- Improve our relationship with other people.
- More efficient system in doing our business.
- Stick to goals.
The first thing you have to do is limit the number of locations of your files or folders. If you have too many places where you save your files, it will also be harder to find that one thing that you needed.
It is like finding a missing pair of your favorite socks in a mountain of socks. It will drive you nuts!
There are three main places that you should have when it comes to running your business.
- Project manager
- File manager; and
- A handy notebook
Project Manager – This can be your project management software. These are Trello, Basecamp, Google Keep, or wherever you keep your actual to-do lists and project management. Only active projects are what’s inside this software or folder. No business ideas inside here.
File Manager – This is where you save the documents, records, or files of your active projects. This can be Google drive, Dropbox, or a physical box where you store your files.
Tip 1: Have an archive folder where you move anything that is not already an active project. You can do this once a quarter. In our case, these are old YouTube video files, closed client folders, and inactive sales funnels.
Tip 2: Don’t store business ideas in your project manager or file manager. You have to keep them squeaky clean for things that you’re actively working on. It is disappointing that your files are cluttered with half- done ideas or half-done projects. That is why archiving is so important.
Notebook – Yes, your handy dandy notebook is the place where you should place your ideas
It can either be a physical notebook or like Evernote.
I have a notebook which I have been using for the past three years.
This $10 notebook has lasted me that long. These is where I write down all my business ideas so that I don’t have to get anything to jot down what I am thinking.
Sometimes, we find ourselves tearing a piece of paper to write down our ideas. But that is also not good. You may just throw away that paper. And there goes your idea.
It can be a simple notebook. Or you can get fancy and buy something that reminds you of your childhood.
Because my old notebook is already falling apart. I bought this overpriced Gundam notebook.
I was a closet geek so I really liked to watch Gundam when I was a kid.
So, whether it’s a $10 from Target or an overpriced moleskine notebook, you just need an actual place where all of your notes go. This is the only place where you put your business ideas.
Key Takeaway: Set Clear Rules for What Goes Where
Now, that you already have a notebook, you can start with collecting your ideas. You can also do it in OneNote or EverNote if you prefer it.
The best way to collect your business ideas is to do it in real time. This is the reason why I like using a notebook and not in an electronic way. Because I get a lot of ideas right before I go to bed, or right when I wake up, or times when I’m not actually at my desk.
There’s something about physically writing that our creative brains seem to like so much more than typing.
So whatever you choose, the best way to collect your business ideas is to write them immediately as you have them. Then, move on with your day. You don’t have to immediately act on your business ideas.
Key Takeaway: Collect Everything, Analyze Later
For the review part, you can go through your notebook every month or every quarter. Then look at those big business ideas.
As a practice, I write those brilliant ideas inside of Evernote. I organize them electronically.
You can get amazed at how you look at how the ideas have changed over a month or two. The ones you thought were great do not sound good at the time that you are reviewing them.
What you will do is to categorize your ideas into three: NOT-TO-DO, WISH LIST, and TO-DO.
These are the ideas that you know you should not be working on right now or for the next 6 months. These tend to be the big ideas or experiments you’d really like to try.
This list should be your BIG IDEAS that it just isn’t the right time for, and those ideas that are not directly in-line with your business and goals.
You’ll have a lot of these second ideas. Ones that are a new marketing platform, new product idea, etc.
The new shiny stuff that looks cool but is only going to distract you from things you need to do first to grow your business.
These tend to be small passion projects you’d really like to do. But aren’t necessarily related to growing your business.
It doesn’t fit into the BIG Ideas of your NOT TO Do.
These are the projects or ideas that make sense tackling in the next 6 months. What’s important is that you are realistic with your time. How long are these ideas going to take?
This is the list you’ll go to for your project planning and add this to your project manager.
The holding off on acting on your ideas allows you to sleep on it AND compare it objectively with everything else you have on your plate.
You can then choose the ONE that you think is really great. And give it some time until your next review or planning session.
Key Takeaway: Reviews Keep You from Doing Impulsive Actions
After reviewing your ideas, then comes on the decision on what to do with your ideas.
So these are the things that you need to do with your list.
You keep them out of your mind. These ideas should not bother you anymore. It is not needed to make your business grow.
These are the things that you can do in your free time for fun and enjoyment.
What I do is I cheat during my freetime.I am an Excel Geek so I do these fun stuff on weekends or I do this to help me relax.
I have a LOT of ideas for cool sheets to build. But they rarely represent something that is urgent or needed.
You don’t have to pretend that this idea is just a passion project when it should be part of your TO-DO list.
After determining your TO-DO items, you put them inside your Project Manager. These are the items that could help scale up your business. The ones that truly matter.
I make sure that I am staying focused within our business goals. But I also acknowledge that there may be better ideas that come to our minds.
Key Takeaway: Focus Is Key to Success
The One Thing
If you’re struggling with trying to figure out what you should actually be focusing on with your business.
Then, I highly recommend that you check out this book – The One Thing by Gary Keller.
This book teaches simple yet powerful ways to focus on what really matters in your business and personal life.
Extraordinary results are determined by practicing greater focus and a clear sense of priority.
And focus is a habit that requires discipline and action.
It’s been an absolute game changer when it comes to organizing my business ideas. It helps me to make sure that I focus on the right ones long enough for them actually to be successful.
It’s so easy to read a blog like this, and get inspired. But doing this for just a week or to is not enough. It needs consistent application and discipline to stay on track.
One of the easiest ways to make sure that you stick with it is to put a time on your calendar for the review and reflection.
It is so easy to get distracted with the new ideas that come to our mind. Then we act on these new ideas impulsively.
So I always make sure that I’m staying focused on what’s important, but also making sure that in the context of the ideas that I do have, that I give them a chance to make it into my actual project management plan for the coming months.
Organizing your ideas is the first step to achieving your business goals. It will help you avoid the distractions of acting on ideas that will not help you. Or worse, will lead you to a big failure.
Focus is a very big word in this organizing system.
- Your active projects should have a dedicated location — a project manager and a file manager.
- You write down your ideas in a notebook in real time. Then move o n to what you are doing.
- Don’t jump into acting in a rush whenever a new idea pops into your brain. Let that idea sleep inside your notebook first.
- Schedule a day in your calendar when to review your ideas. List it as a TO-DO, NOT-TO-DO, or a WISH LIST.
- Once you have determined your big ideas, you place it inside your project manager and file manager.
- Do your WISH LIST for fun stuff. And don’t let the NOt-TO-DO’s bother you anymore.
There needs to be immediate action in terms of your idea to get it out of your head. So it doesn’t clutter your mind. Because your mind is not designed to be a file cabinet.
Make sure that your project manager and file manager stays nice and clean on active projects.
This system is really helpful if you see yourself easily distracted with new ideas. Let this discipline transform into a habit, and see your rewards at the end.
As an entrepreneur and a business owner, there’s always more ideas and more things to do than there is actual time. It helps that we always do that ONE thing.
I hope you get a lot of value out of this blog.
That you feel a lot more confident when it comes to organizing all of those ideas that are inevitably going to come your way.
And until the next time, keep building the business you love.