Struggling to put ideas into action? No more!
Creative people are hoarders. It’s literally their biggest strength and biggest weakness packed into one big bundle of a mess.
What do they hoard? IDEAS! Duh!
But we struggle to put ideas into action. For mysterious reasons beyond us, we just can’t make ourselves to put our tools of the trade to work and let the idea become tangible work.
We have more ideas than we can ever possibly get done in this lifetime. We collect them like a connoisseur, going to great lengths to get inspired to ideate. We then go on to nurturing them as a baby, putting a great deal of thought into developing them to bring out the best.
Many people share the struggle of putting ideas into action, even more by creative people. We first wait for inspiration to strike, most often facing God-knows-what-blocks. When finally the dam brakes and ideas start flowing in, we try to keep our heads above bobbing on the surface feeling smug about it.
We then go on to bore our friends to death telling them about our grand ideas.
Months later we still have nothing to show for it. We disappointed even our pet cat that she has joined the choir of those who urge us to “just do it”! It’s not that they are awaiting a masterpiece. They are merely sick of seeing us play scrabble, dig mud, organize already clean cupboards, to procrastinate the action part of our creative life.
But there we stay, clueless, as to why we can’t break down this invisible wall that stops us from putting our ideas into action.
At this point I have a confession. I am a hoarder of ideas and my chosen casino to lose all my precious creative time is (wait- for-it) … PINTEREST. I have so many boards that a point came when I had to change the settings to ‘secret ‘(just so people don’t mistake me for having multiple personalities). Well, truth is, I am just a fan of creativity and watching DIY content is porn for me. Shhh!!!
So naturally, I have a list of ideas tall as the Eifel, and not enough time to chase them, so I stay stuck in the ideation process. When I couldn’t see my ideas into action, irritation set in. I had to do something about it.
Firstly, in order to cure any disease, we need to state the symptoms before proceeding to cure the root of the problem.
So let’s do that here too!
What stands in the way of your awesome ideas converting to even awesome actions?
- Sheer laziness
Need I say more? Creative people are lazy people. We conserve every bit of energy in our bodies to give to the next big spurt of inspiration. We don’t bother to flex our creative muscles in mundane tasks hence fall prey to wasted days
The quest to be perfect has killed more great ideas than the Nazis killed Jews. Even before we start, we wait to iron out all the details of the idea. But perfect ideas belong in fairy tales! They don’t exist but we do in our imperfect minds.
- Disorganized with no dedicated working space
Visual clutter is a big damper to putting ideas into action. You can’t find that one special needle in your haystack when you need it, so end up losing all your enthusiasm too. I didn’t have a dedicated space to write until recently when I took an underused corner in my home and converted it into a workspace. I was too LAZY (point no.1) to even take my laptop out of its bag and actually write. It acted as my biggest hindrance (needless to say that’s sorted now).
- No action plan
You don’t know where to start, often stuck at thinking how to eat that elephant. Your ideas are on halt because you don’t know where to take the first bite. Happens to the best of us.
But we are not done yet. Creative life does have a lot of problems!
- Blurry final result
Not having a clear end result as to where you want to go with the idea could be standing in the way of you putting your actions into gear. Some people find it hard to visualize the end products, while some visualize it so much that they are scared to get there.
- Conflicting priorities
There’s a lot sitting on our plates. creativity is pushed back in the list of priorities, while we juggle our professional life and personal life drama. After all, there are only 24 hours, with limited energy that we can spend on all that life throws our way.
- Haven’t invested in tools
Every craftsperson knows that tools make or break their craft. But tools can be expensive or we just haven’t gotten around to buying tools to put our ideas into actions. Getting supplies and raw materials is a task unto itself, contributing to delays in our action steps.
- Big project
Sometimes the sheer size of the project that we have to handle can be overwhelming enough that we keep putting off facing it. Bigger the project, the longer the timeline, the bigger the anxiety, and later we get to it. It all affects the ideas from taking flight.
- No rewards to achieve
Now, this is a secret most people ignore. When we don’t see rewards at the end of completing our idea, we don’t feel motivated enough to go after them headfirst. Patience is a virtue but rewards make it even sweeter.
So now that we have identified the problems that stand in way of our creative prowess, I want to give you only three solutions to fix all those problems.
Sounds too good to be true, eh?
Nine problems, three solutions, isn’t a detergent advertisement. I have benefitted greatly from doing these and now eliminated many of the factors that deter my creative outputs.
1. Ropewalk between Ideas and Actions
Finding a sweet spot between how much time you spend collecting ideas and time allotted to doing them, takes the pressure off of either phase of the creative process. By pre-deciding days in a week or hours in a day for both the aspects, a balance can be achieved
Creating a rough plan can help with breaking down the project into bite-sized pieces that are easier to swallow. Also, planning and allotting time means you can carve it into your priorities so that you know that it’s a commitment to yourself. Honor it and see how the action starts happening.
2. Punch your creative blocks
When I took my creative calling seriously, the first thing I did is to get organized. Being a multi-hobbyist imagine the clutter from various hobbies I pursue. I sorted my tools and assigned labeled boxes to store them so that I don’t waste precious time searching for things when I need them.
Even went so far as to DIY a wall organizer that I love looking at each day that also serves as a memo board. I did all that so that I can stop giving myself excuses to not be working my ideas into actions. Creating a sacred space for working on your craft, is a cue to your brain to start working.
Another thing I did is that I dive headfirst into my projects without worrying about how it will turn out. There is no pressure of being perfect and it adds an element of surprise to the end product. It also helped me to cut time from the idea phase. Even if I don’t have all the details pinned down, I trust my creative process to come up with answers as I progress.
Rewards in the form of day-offs or binge-watching or publishing work are also very important because they give you something in exchange for all the hard work you did to put your ideas into action.
3. Scrape your nails through dirt
To set your ideas into motion, you need to overcome fear. You will only fail or succeed once you get your hands dirty. Jump in headfirst, get dirty while you play with your idea, and see it take shape.
Prepare yourself for the worst outcome so that you can end up amazing yourself. Learn to love the dirty work so that you can be proud of the jewels you discover along the way. I lay aside raw materials knowing that some of it will be garbage.
Is it a waste of time if the idea isn’t as great as you thought? But look at it as time invested in learning how to identify good ideas. But you wouldn’t know if you don’t actually do it right?
Remember, people who pinch their nose and dive in are the ones who do their best creative work.
They put their ideas into action, overcoming challenges, and ignoring perfect outcomes.
So vow to be that person who is dressed in paint-spattered clothes or ink-stained hands. Be that person who looks like a delinquent hunched over, babbling to themselves. Identify your symptoms and apply the cure. Your ideas will no longer shudder at the action.
What steps do you take to put your ideas into action? Share in the comments below!