How exactly do we make an idea into reality? How do we decide which idea we should act upon and which one’s we should let go? What is it that we need to do to make an idea take the leap from our brain into the world?
As freelancers we have to be creative. To be creative, we need ideas. This post will highlight some things that might help do just that. Call it the life cycle of an idea, which starts from the generation phase and ends with its completion in reality. The following steps are simple, but we often fail to recognize and use all of them to the full potential.
1. Generate Ideas
The beginning of anything successful starts out with generating ideas. This is where you come up with an idea and start building your empire. This is the first step, as this is where we realize what we can do and what the possibilities are.
This step is all about brainstorming and thinking about things that could prove to be worth your time and effort. Generate as many ideas as you can. Whether it’s starting a website design firm or becoming an independent web content writer, generate ideas on what you can do. Think, think, think and write all your ideas on a piece of paper.
2. Eliminate Ideas
This is where you take the elimination approach. Idea generation in itself is not the key to coming up with something great. It’s getting rid of the ideas that might not prove to be as fruitful as the other ones. During the idea generation phase, all you do is generate ideas — but during the elimination phase things start to get serious.
This is one of the most important steps as this is where you decide your next move. Ideas are easy to think of, but it can be difficult to weight options and figure out what will benefit us the most. Take a look at the piece of paper where you wrote ideas and go through all of them. Weigh the pros and cons of each idea, and cross out the ones that seem out of reach or less valuable. At the end you will be left with ideas that will hopefully be your best.
3. Set Goals
A lot of us ignore the importance of setting goals, but let me assure you that it is necessary to take a concept into reality. When we set goals we actually run after them, as we are motivated to get to the finish line. While setting a goal, prepare a time line and list what you want to achieve within that time period. Quality goals will create a sense of urgency and provide immense motivation.
Goal setting serves as one of the most important parts within the life cycle of an idea. Without setting goals, it’s almost impossible to drive an idea to reality.
4. Prepare a To-Do List
Now that you have set your goals, it’s time to plan a to do list. With each idea there are certain things that need to be done. If you are planning to start a blog, there are many aspects of it that need to be planned.
A to-do list allows you to plan everything ahead of time. Prepare your to do list depending on your priorities. Your idea requires certain steps to become a reality, and you need to think about the urgency of each step and prepare your to-do list accordingly. This will allow you to see what is important and what needs to be done each day.
5. Manage Time Effectively
“24 hours in a day just isn’t enough.” This is one statement that we hear time after time. No matter what we do, the fact that each day consist of 24 hours is not going to change. The only thing we can change is how we manage time. For an idea to become a reality, effective time management is a must — and you are the one who will have to integrate and maintain it throughout the life cycle.
We all face countless challenges each day, ranging from family responsibilities, to business emergencies, to making time for television. Between all our responsibilities and relaxation we need to allocate a set time for our new ideas. Without effective time management nothing is likely to get completed, and the idea will almost never make it to reality.
6. Develop a Productivity Strategy
We all work to increase our productivity by reading articles and listening to podcasts each week. The key to being productive doesn’t lie in what we know, but in what we do and how we do it. Whether we read 3 steps or 50 steps to productivity, ensuring maximum output from our efforts lies within us.
A productivity strategy is something that we each need to figure out. What works best for me might not be the best option for you. I seem to work quite well at late hours of the night, and that is when I get most of my things done. You might be the other way around. Find a time, a strategy, a method — and figure out how you can really unleash the productivity beast. To turn your idea into reality, a productivity strategy is a must.
7. Take Appropriate Actions
Action — the six letter word is definitely one of the key elements for your idea to step out into public. One of the reasons most of us fail to turn our ideas into reality is because we fail to take appropriate actions.
We dive into all the steps but when it comes to taking action we seem to lose the touch. Without action, nothing can be achieved. Food on the table, a cool article on a blog, and everything else requires action. Without action nothing can be attained. It’s the mantra we all need to live by.
Your turn to share — what do you think?