Anders Grendstadbakk

When ideas become an obstacle

Everyone has ideas and it’s a good thing we have them. But for me they can sometimes become an obstacle.

That’s because i always see stuff i want to improve in the solutions i use and get ideas of things that would be cool to create.

So i have figured out that i must suffer from IID, an pretty unknown problem(mainly because i just made it up) that is called Instant Idea Development. When i get an idea i feel the need to start working on it immediately, so i create a folder and some files, maybe download some modules from NPM, write some code. But then i need to continue my “real work”, so i leave this newly started project in one of my projects folders (i have a lot of them).

Even if i don’t start creating a project for my ideas, i have it in my head and think about it. And that can be very unproductive. It makes me distracted.

And when i get home and should have the energy and time to work on some side-projects i usually don’t do anything, because my growing folders of started projects takes away my motivation.

Of the ideas i have, some are way too complex for spare-time work, some requires learning a lot of new stuff (i like learning new stuff, but there is a time for everything) and some ideas wasn’t that good. But when i don’t do any of that i get more stressed that i don’t work on anything. So it’s a bad circle.

One thing that is quite ironic is that i have 3-4 projects for different todolist/project management tools to manage all my ideas.

Changing the workflow

To avoid this from happening i have forced myself to write down ideas and “forget” them. By writing it down i don’t get afraid of losing my ideas, and i don’t go around and think about them all the time.

To manage this i have created a Trello board for my ideas. With every idea as a “card” it’s easy to label them, comment on them to add more information and eventually move them from “idea” to “work in progress”, another list on my board.

I can absolutely admit that it still happens that a folder is created and some code is started on, but it doesn’t happen all the time anymore, and i don’t feel stressed because of all the things i want to do.

It’s also good to get some distance to the ideas. It’s much easier to see the really bad ones when you have had some time to think about it.