I’ve always had more ideas than I can handle, and felt that there are more things that need to be taken care of than what I can reasonably do. In fact I even get distracted by my own ideas. My mind tends to drift away immediately as something new turns up in my head.

Over the years I’ve developed methods to handle this. To execute I need focus. At the same time I don’t feel good just ignoring good ideas. So what can I do to keep focus without losing out on these (sometimes) good ideas?

Here are three things to do when you need to handle your own ideas:

Change your mindset from opportunity-driven to opportunity-ready

GTD for the entrepreneurial mind

I realize that as an entrepreneur I’m probably a little less risk averse than most people are. So I tend to just go for things, just jump on new possibilities as they turn up. And really, I do like being that kind of a person – but I’ve learned that there’s a difference between being driven by opportunity and being ready for opportunities. If you’re overcrowded with the many things you started doing last week, you’ll miss the really great opportunity that turns up this week – so keep a ”buffer zone”! Stop starting things as soon as they turn up. Or better yet: Be picky about what things really deserve your attention right now.

Take yourself more seriously

Lots of ideas are just too small/narrow/shortsighted for you to actually care about, regardless of how awesome they feel right now. Just take a deep breath, smile at the awesomeness and the fact that someone will do it sooner or later anyway, and then just let it go.

Dump everything into a backlog

Lists for ideas for current projects, new ideas for businesses, inspiration. If you do it properly and remember to keep the backlog updated, it is a great tool for handling ideas without losing focus. But one thing I realized after using backlogs for years (without really succeeding) is this: Don’t bother too much about ordering things or anything like that. The only thing that’s important is writing them down quickly. I use Evernote and I usually e-mail myself and tag the idea with #ideas. I try to use a title (e-mail subject) that helps me understand what it’s about without actually reading anything more.

How do you handle all you ideas?

With the help of these little tricks, I can usually take advantage of good ideas without losing my focus in the very moment they emerge.

If you also have tons of ideas and concepts to explore, I’m sure you have come up with ways to handle it! Please share in the comments!

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  • Carina Kindkvist

    Thanks for the tip Erik; I have the same problem.

    One way to opt-out is to focus on my vision. If an idea doesn’t fit cleanly into the vision, I will lose interest after a while and therefore I may as well skip it.

    The ideal would be if there were a bunch of entrepreneurs without ideas, that I could give my ideas to. Do you know where to find these people or any site where I can drop ideas? Don’t think I’m alone on this. Take all scientists / inventors who don’t have the ability to commercialize their inventions. Maybe we should start a brokerage site? Hmm wonder if it fits in my vision …

    • Hehe… I feel like just starting on that idea, let’s do it 🙂