It can feel really overwhelming when you have a lot of different ideas for your blog or creative business. I’ve been guilty —many times — of coming up with a ton of new ideas and wanting to tackle them all, but not knowing where to direct my time and attention, or how to sift through all the ideas that come to mind. Something that helps me when when I have idea overwhelm is a 5-step strategy that I’m sharing with you below.
A couple of these recommendations are similar to the strategies I outlined in my content batching breakdown guide, but there are some slight differences. I’m going to make this post as simple and straight to the point as possible, so let’s just dive right in:
Step 1: Brain Purge
A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brain purge session consists of taking all those ideas swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. As I mentioned in this post — you can think of your brain purging session as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. I always recommend doing this with pen and paper, not your phone or computer.
In the free strategy guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.
Your brain purging session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot of ideas on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if more ideas come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps in this process.
While you’re purging your ideas, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t all connect. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.
Step 2: Topic Organization
Once you’ve completed your brain purging session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. I often find that this practice leads to even more ideas! If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.
Step 3: Analysis
After you’ve organized your ideas from your brain purge, take a look at the categories you’ve created. This is where you’ll start to eliminate the ideas that aren’t going to best serve your target audience or target market, or rework certain ideas so they can provide something of value. No matter what you end up doing with these ideas, you always want to have your audience or market in mind. Some questions I typically ask myself are:
What is my goal with each idea?
How will this serve my audience? Is it valuable?
Will my audience benefit from these ideas? Which ones?
Which ideas do I love but won’t serve my audience?
Are there any ideas that are off-brand? Can I rework them so they fit within my niche?
We are often tempted to create content or offer products/services that we want to create — but you should be putting yourself in the shoes of your readers, clients, or customers and asking yourself if you they will want it or find it valuable. There is a balance between what we want and what they want. Always have your audience in mind — I can’t stress this point enough!
Step 4: Prioritize
This part can take some time. Once you have a clear picture of which ideas align with your goals and will be most beneficial to your readers, clients or customers, you need to start prioritizing these ideas before taking action. These can be prioritized according to season, demand, theme — whatever works for you and your brand. Listing them and actually numbering them in order of importance is a helpful way to get organized and see what you need to tackle first. If need be, add a completion date to help you prioritize a bit more. I typically keep this running list handy for quick reference, but I’ll also pick a handful of ideas and write them on my whiteboard so I know what I need to work on first.
Step 5: Take Action
Now that your list is prioritized, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can bring these ideas to life. I will often choose three solid ideas to work with first, and then develop my plan of action. Everyone’s plan of action will look different, but I have a few questions I ask myself that help guide me during this process:
How long do I have to make this happen? How much time is it going to take me? What is my deadline?
How much time will I designate to working on this idea each day?
Do I have a budget to consider?
What are the materials or resources I need to bring this idea to life?
How will I market or promote this idea?
What is the first actionable step I can take today to make this happen?
From here, I start drafting an outline for each of the first three projects so I can get a clear idea of what I need to do to make it happen. I usually like to start taking action as soon as this outline is completed and while things are still fresh in my mind. As I complete these projects, I check them off my priority list and move on to the next three ideas. Of course sometimes things come up (life happens!), but keeping your goals in mind and sticking to your timelines as much as possible will help you keep moving forward. Use the guide I’ve created to help you and always feel free to send me a message if you need further support in sifting through all your ideas!
How to you combat idea overwhelm?