Creative people often experience an out-of-control feeling. You know. That feeling you get when you have so many creative ideas, thoughts, and projects swirling in your head that you might explode.
It’s like ‘analysis paralysis’ when a problem seems so complex with so many detailed options that a decision is never made. Too many ideas can often lead to nothing getting done. And that can kill creativity.
But what a wonderful problem to have.
Being creative is a wonderful way to live life. Creative people see things differently than many other people, and thrive on the new, unseen, or unusual. As creative entrepreneurs, most of you have likely been under-motivated to create and you worried that you had ‘hit a wall’. At other times, you have so many ideas that are over-stimulating your mind and body that you can’t settle down and focus.
Cheryl Arutt, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, explains that the challenge for creative and intense people is about: “Finding ways to maintain that optimal zone where we are neither under- or over-stimulated which allows us to use our minds to respond rather than to react. If you are an artist, you are your instrument. The greater access you maintain to yourself, the richer and broader your array of creative tools.”
Wow! That’s for sure!
So what do you do when you wake up in the middle of the night with multiple ideas pushing you out of bed? Or you have many creative ideas but only a short time to get something done?
These ideas will help you manage your flight of ideas so you become more productive and focused – without harnessing your creative imagination too much and stifling your creativity.
- The loudest idea gets the attention. Usually in a sea of ideas, there is one or two ideas that keep coming to the top or seem to stand out in bold in your mind. Try playing with that idea for a while and see where it takes you. If it doesn’t pan out – move on.
- Give yourself a deadline. The good and bad thing about owning your own creative business is that you sometimes don’t have deadlines to turn an idea into a product or service. But give yourself a deadline and you may quickly eliminate unproductive ideas or unnecessary steps in evaluating your ideas. Imaginary deadlines can be powerful. They can also help you prioritize your best ideas for better results.
- Weed out the bad ideas. Sometimes it’s easier to eliminate the bad ideas first, and then focus on what’s left. It’s like choosing an outfit for a party. You know what you don’t want to wear but you’re not sure exactly what you want to wear. Remove the “no’s” first and it’s easier to think about what’s left.
- Write ideas down on paper. Getting the ideas out of your head and onto paper will help you relax. You no longer worry you’ll forget a great idea and you can focus on the ideas in front of you. Use colored pencils for each idea to visually separate them. You can also use a whiteboard or chalkboard to keep track of ideas.
- Use an idea board. Interior designers have used this technique for years. It’s a way to bring together elements that work together well and eliminate those that don’t fit. Visually examine your ideas to help you see what fits and what doesn’t. Create colored index cards or sticky notes for your board and move them around. Scribble pictures to help you visualize potential projects. It’s possible that several ideas can be combined for an even more fantastic product or creative project! And being able to move them around on a board keeps them focused – front and center!
- Walk away. When too many ideas are swirling and you start feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and even anxious, just walk away. Head out the door for a nature walk, go to the gym, visit a local coffee shop, or have lunch with a friend. Move to a new environment and come back with a fresh outlook for greater clarity and focus.
- Follow your passion. If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll do a better job. Stay true to your passion but don’t be afraid to expand your realm of thinking towards that passion. Being passionate about what you do is what makes you creative!