How many ideas are running through your mind as you read this? Would you say they are your best ideas yet?
Are these new ideas or have they been floating around your thoughts for months or even years?
Great companies and influential individuals have obtained their success by turning their ideas into actions. Ideas are what keeps us going and motivates us to do our best work, yet it’s challenging to turn all of them into reality.
Ideas that are floating around your brain, written down in your journal, or spoken to confidantes don’t always become actions, and that is a problem. If they just stay ideas, then they are useless to you.
There’s something wholesome about placing a bunch of bananas into a fruit bowl. It’s almost like those bananas symbolize goodness and vitality and, to a greater extent, the intention to live healthily.
You know those ideas that take up space in your mind? Well, they are like bananas. Yes, you heard us correctly—ideas are bananas. They hold your mental space captive just like bananas take up counter space, and your ideas are just as versatile as bananas.
In the store, you choose the freshest and best-looking bananas you can find. They sit proudly in the fruit bowl and wait for you to pick them up. The bananas you chose might even be slightly green and have to ripen a bit more, but they keep a bit longer.
The same happens with ideas. When you first get an idea, it is fresh and alluring. It holds great promise even if you don’t fully understand it quite yet. You are excited about this new idea and can’t wait to bite into it.
Those fresh bananas you purchased earlier this week have started to get some brown spots on them. You know they probably still taste the same, but they don’t appeal to you as much as they did before. Fruit shouldn’t go to waste, so you resolve to add the bananas to a smoothie.
Does this sound like something you would do?
We do the same thing with our ideas when they have been taking up headspace for a while. The idea still seems like a good one, but you have put it off for long enough that you are starting to think about how you could repurpose it.
The brown spots have now become brown skin, and the bananas aren’t worth using in a smoothie. You decide to use them for a banana bread that you plan on baking over the weekend.
If you get around to baking the banana bread, then congrats—you didn’t just throw them away. Still, they have taken up space for longer than they need to. Similarly, ideas can take up unnecessary mental space and emotional energy because you can’t get around to giving them the attention they deserve.
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Just like bananas, your ideas will become stale, so you have to make a plan with them before they end up in the garbage. If you don’t, these ideas will cost you opportunities and productivity.
Start by rounding up all your stray ideas so that you can evaluate each one on its merits. Write them down on paper so that you have a tangible reminder of your ideas as you clear them from your mind.
Name all the unfinished projects that are lying around physically or in your mind. Think of as many as possible. Even if it is just a small project or idea, you need to bring it to the forefront of your mind.
Rate each of these ideas and projects as fresh, smoothie, banana bread, or worthy of being thrown out.
Consider how you feel about each project—especially whether it energizes you or drains your mental, emotional, and physical power. Identify the ones that you feel motivated to focus on and those that you don’t want to spend more time on.
You might feel that a project or idea is somewhere in the middle. In this case, it might be best to imagine you no longer have to complete it and determine your feelings toward it. If you feel relieved, then it is draining your energy.
Add all the projects you feel passionately about to your ideas journal or schedule them to your calendar.
If you have a business or generate your own income, go through your customer files and check if anyone owes you money. Schedule time to send out the relevant invoices later in the day.
Go through all invoices sent to you—whether they are for your business or personal matters—and ensure you have paid all of them. Review your budget and see which ones you can pay this month or add them to your expenses for next month.
Think about each aspect of your life separately and identify any other ideas or projects that haven’t been addressed yet. Write them down; consider the pros and cons of completing each one; then determine which category of banana they fit into best.
Add the good ideas to your schedule and let go of the other ideas. You need to clear your mental space so that you can think clearly about the ideas that are worth your time.
Listing and evaluating projects and ideas is not enough. You have to act on them so that you can move forward in an actionable way. Now is the time to refine your project list even more to help improve your business.
Let go of all the ideas that are past their due date—go ahead and chuck them. Even better, give them away to someone else.
Review your list critically and decide which ideas will add value to your life and business. Take the smoothie and banana bread projects and think carefully about how you will get them done. It might be useful to outsource these projects to someone else so that they are seen to fruition.
Identify the ideas that are still fresh and deserve your attention immediately. These are the most important ones, so you need to move them to the top of your list.
Now that you have determined the projects that are most important and valuable, you have to evaluate them even further. You can’t have 10 important projects and think you will be able to get to all of them immediately.
At this stage, you have to choose the top three ideas. Select the ones that are the most important, for which you have the resources to get them done, and those that will add immense value to your situation.
Everything else has to wait for next year. If it can’t wait, then you either have to outsource it or assign greater importance to the idea.
Choosing three ideas is a good start, but now you have to think about how you will actually complete them. Set goals for each project and create milestones that will help you to get them done.
You want to improve your business, so you need to take action and work on these projects daily. Make it a habit to review your progress weekly and adjust your plan accordingly.
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How do you feel now that you are starting to clear the bananas from the counter? We hope you feel more organized and that your brain is decluttering one idea at a time.
There will always be good ideas that you believe are worth further investigation. These ideas might be on your list now or come at you at a later time. Some of them are valuable enough to add the project to your list, while others might be better suited to another successful entrepreneur.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t hoard ideas—they share them with other people. If you have an abundance of bananas, hand them out to deserving colleagues and allow them to run with it. Let go of these ideas and rest in the knowledge that you have potentially enhanced someone else’s life.
Your project list has now been organized, and you have a plan to get each item done. We are sure you are ready to tick off these projects one by one.
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NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.
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