Friday, June 26, 2009

Keep Your Ideas in a Drawer

Not forever, but at least for a day or two.

Sometimes we get so caught up in a new idea that we want to shout it from the rooftops or share it with the world...right away.

But my experience is that most ideas actually benefit from a little marination.

I always try to adhere to the 24 hour rule.

I'll work feverishly on something, then put it away in a drawer for a day. Then when I take it out, if I am still as passionate about it as I was 24 hours before I will share it as is.

But most often what happens, is when I read it a day later, there are a lot of things I'd like to keep the same. But also a few tweaks I'd like to make.

This doesn't mean watering it down.

It just means taking a second look to see if it makes as much sense as I thought it did during my burst of creative energy.

And often it means showing it to someone else for a second opinion.

However, I've found if I do show it to someone else, it's really important to be clear what kind of input I'm looking for.

The smart folks at ?WhatIf! call this "signalling". In other words, inviting commentary in a positive way.

For example, "I'm excited about this idea, I am still working on it and was wondering if you could help me build it?" or "I am looking for input in this specific area..."

This will avoid some of the well-intentioned but often soul-crushing input we often get when opening our ideas up to others.

In either case, letting a idea breathe for a day or so often helps it to become stronger.

And by the way, this 24 hour rule applies nicely to those impassioned late night emails we all write, usually when we're fed up about something. Put the email in your drafts folder and see if you feel the same way in the morning.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Do you give your ideas some breathing room?

1 comment:

  1. as you know, i'm also guilty of shouting out ideas before i've had time to let them marinate!!! i'm constantly reminding myself to let my ideas simmer, but it's hard to hold back when you're so excited about something. as i've "matured" as a professional, i've learned that taking time to think is okay, that not everything needs to be asap...thinking more thoroughly and inviting others to help has only helped me provide better ideas and solutions. and it's helped me keep my foot out of my mouth (sometimes)