5 Ways to Kill a Great Idea Fast! And How to Avoid Them!

October 17, 2007

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1. Neglect writing it down.

Unfortunately, many great ideas die mere seconds after they’re conceived simply because they were never captured in the first place. This is understandable when we consider how our brains generate creative ideas.

Creativity begins in the right hemisphere of the brain. The right brain becomes most active when we’re engaged in activities that require spatial (No, that’s not a reference to SNL’s Church Lady) perception. These activities include walking, cleaning, showering, exercising, driving, mowing the yard, etc. That means the creative juices really start flowing at the most inconvenient times to write stuff down.

For instance, I always think of the best ideas (if I do say so myself) while driving to or from work. That’s an inconvenient time to try witting things down. That being the case, the simplest solution I’ve found for capturing ideas while driving is using my mobile phone to leave myself a message about the idea. Since I have a wireless headset and voice dialing, it’s quick, easy, and safe. Yes, calling yourself is kind of silly, but it works!

2. Over aggressive self-editing.

Self editing is an admirable quality, but one that requires balance. How many inventions do you suppose don’t exist today, because the would-be inventor prematurely gave up on pursuing his/her idea? Don’t let self doubt or fear of failure keep you from exploring your great ideas. Like the old expression states, “It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.”

Thomas Edison believed he failed his way to success. If it weren’t for him we’d never have had the light bulb, motion picture camera, or the phonograph (that was the original 8-track player, right?). But Edison didn’t get it right every time. Did you know he had an obsession with cement? He built all kinds of stuff using cement, including a piano! It was probably the piano movers who kept that idea from catching on. But it was Edison’s determination to keep testing his ideas that lead to the creation of over 1000 patents!

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1) Shut Up! 2) Communicate.

October 16, 2007

shutupandcommunicate10.png“Hey Bill!”

- What?”

“Are you almost done with the Cooper file?”

- “I’m on the phone”

“I said, are you almost done with the COOPER FILE?!”


Welcome to interruptionville. Interruptionville is how I affectionately refer to an office that recently hired me to help them become more productive. The above conversation is a typical exchange in that office.

The group has worked together for quite some time, and over the years they’ve developed some very unproductive habits. For instance, whenever one of them has a question for another teammate, they immediately pick up the phone to buzz them - or worse - just scream their request down the hall!

On one occasion I even witnessed a team member get interrupted in the middle of interrupting somebody else. It actually was quite comical from my point of view, but it had to stop.

Just because you’re ready to say something doesn’t mean others are ready to listen.

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How Learning to BANJO Makes You More Productive!

October 13, 2007

time.jpgI just found this really cool website called the Ririan Project. In a recent post Ririan discusses 15 ways to get 2 hours back in your day.

Learning to BANJO was my favorite in the list … and no, you don’t have to have any musical talent to make the strategy work! It’s similar to my article Worst Things First,

So here’s what it means to BANJO:

2. Learn to BANJO.

BANJO is an acronym for “Bang A Nasty Job Off”. Doing anything gives you a sense of achievement, but getting something really unpleasant out of the way makes you feel even better. That task may seem trivial, but it’ll distract you until you do it.

Read the whole article here: 15 Ways to Reclaim 2 Precious Hours Every Day

How to Take Notes like Thomas Edison

October 12, 2007

thomas_edison.jpgRemember my article, “Notes, Copious F!%king Notes!”? Well, turns out Thomas Edison agrees with my assertion that note taking helps us retain information, even if we never consult the notes again. I read this interesting article at lifehack.org - I particularly like this part:

“… By writing everything down that he thought was worth writing, he (Edison) was able to free himself of the burden of having to remember it. (the cool part) a strange and almost unexpected thing occurs.

The process of writing things down aids in the mental memory retention. The combination of having the confidence in knowing the information is on record and easily retrievable combined with the improved retention from the process of writing it down, creates a winning combination when it comes to memory.”

If you’re curious, you can read the rest of the article Here.

7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

October 11, 2007

I only keep one quote taped to my monitor, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Who do you think said that?

If I told you he invented the light bulb, would that help?

It was Thomas Edison. I keep that quote ‘in my face’ at all times as a constant reminder that the easiest way to fail is to quit! That may not seem so profound. But if you think about it, that means failure is often caused by a lack of perseverance rather than the lack of progress. Mistakes are inevitable. It’s how we learn from and use our mistakes that ultimately guides us through to success!

John Wesley over at Pick the Brain wrote this great article about 7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure. Here’s an excerpt:

Burn the boats - When ancient Greek armies traveled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do after landing was to burn the boats, leaving them stranded. With no way to make it home besides victory, the resolve of the soldiers was strengthened. When success and failure are the only options, you have no choice but to follow through.

If you have a goal, but are afraid to commit, force yourself into action by burning the boats. Register for an exam in advance if you want to go back to school. Set a deadline to move to a new city without signing a lease. Fear of failure disappears when you realize it can’t save you.

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