You have some great ideas going through your head.
Great ideas for blog posts that need to be written. Great ideas for products that you want to create.
But 95% of them will probably never see the light of day. Not because you’re not smart or dedicated. And certainly not because you lack creativity – lord knows we have a lot of that.
It’s because we’re human and we’re hardwired this way.
I received an email a few weeks ago from one of my Inbound Marketing Course subscribers that inspired this post. Here’s what she wrote:
“I listened to all of your WordPress Podcast episodes; thanks for sharing! I was wondering if you have any tips on managing multiple websites & domain names. I have so many ideas, and have some of them registered … I probably went about this wrong … Have you found a good way to organize all of this?”
If you noticed, some of the words are in bold. “Multiple Websites” and “So Many Ideas”. The issue here isn’t organization, it’s something much deeper than that.
Let’s take a look into the reasons why most of our great ideas never come to fruition and let’s talk about what “having too many ideas” does to our productivity.
1. Reaching the Project Plateau
The Project Plateau was coined by Scott Belsky, which is the time period where our great ideas simply wither away and die.
When we first think about an idea, the excitement level is through the roof. We can’t stop thinking about it. I often find myself with a pen and pad, writing it all down.
What happens first, second and last is all written down. The potential of new ideas is always great in our minds. But soon after, the work begins. This is when our “great ideas” turn into an endless list of “things-to-do”.
This awesome plan, now starts to feel like a chore, and not so much fun anymore. I’m sure a lot of people reading this article can relate to this scenario. It happens to every creative person. Specially in the online space.
With so many websites, business models, products, blog articles and software thrown at us day in and day out, our minds get bombarded with tons of ideas we can execute. (this includes buying a bunch of domain names and never fully completing a website)
Some of them are great… most of them are awful. But we would never know which ones are which, because 95% of them never get fully developed.
That’s the sad truth…
2. Our Need for Instant Gratification
Let me tell you a story. When I was 18 I worked at a country club in New Jersey. My aunt hooked me up and got me working on weekends. The club hosted and catered events, like weddings and bar-mitzvahs and I was getting paid $110 per event.
Every weekend we would work 3 and even 4 events. I was making close to $400 for two days of work. It was great.
But then something happened… my friend’s car needed a new motor. I had money saved up, so lent him $700. This money was everything I had earned from working at the country club. I never actually had the chance to enjoy the fruits of my hard, 16 hour days, labor.
I quit a week later. Yes, he paid me back when he could, but I needed that instant gratification in order for me to stay and continue working. The same applies with our long-term projects.
We don’t want to work so hard, then wait weeks and even months to experience the gratification and results that the project will bring us. This is why excitement goes down. The real work needed to complete the project isn’t always fun.
…but it needs to be done.
3. New Ideas Take Over
There are two simple ways to beat the project plateau. The first way is hard. Ignore all distractions, forget about instant gratification and just do the work.
The second way is 100 times easier; and this is the one most people choose to do. Most people let new ideas take over. (like my friend up there)
Once an idea becomes a boring chore, we tend to let new ideas enter our minds and get excited all over again. We’re so addicted to this feeling, that we continue to do it over and over and over again. Visualization and our imagination takes us away from the current project and distracts us from the real work.
I’ll talk more about how to increase the chances of completing your projects next time, but for now just realize that this happens to all of us.