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Hard-to-process 'misc.' ideas/brainstorms/thoughts

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  • Hard-to-process 'misc.' ideas/brainstorms/thoughts

    I'm having trouble with these kind of miscellaneous ideas/brainstorms/thoughts. They might be ideas in their own right, but may relate partly to a current project and also turn into an open-ended brainstorm that could go in several other directions, or cause me to rethink/dwell on fundamental aspects. With no kind of external guidance or clarification, this stuff is clogging up the system and my head.

    Any ideas? Am I missing some obvious thing that everyone else just 'gets'?

  • #2
    Someday/Maybe: Assess the various possibilities associated with XYZ. [For XYZ that can go in a number of directions.]

    @Home (or @Work or @"wherever you do your thinking"): Assess how XYZ impacts Project ABC. [To capture the limited impact that XYZ has on just ABC, not the whole rest of your world.]

    I hope this helps.

    Joe

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    • #3
      I keep any ideas in my Reference. I like to read them from time time as they give me new ideas or so needed support.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JoeMancoBlondie View Post
        I'm having trouble with these kind of miscellaneous ideas/brainstorms/thoughts. They might be ideas in their own right, but may relate partly to a current project and also turn into an open-ended brainstorm that could go in several other directions, or cause me to rethink/dwell on fundamental aspects
        I capture them all, one thought to a small piece of paper or single electronic note. During processing if they might be related to a particular active or someday/maybe project I put the paper into the physical folder or add the note to my electronic project support materials.

        If it's something that looks like a whole 'nother project (massive brainstorming activity that will change my core priorities or life) I add it as a new active project and usually set aside some time in my calendar to work on that alone.

        A lot of them just get put as single sentences as a project that I put on hold. I'll set them to review in a week, some get deleted at the next review, others get fleshed out into real projects and still others stay in Someday/maybe but may have their review time changed as appropriate.

        Key is if it's on my mind I need it captured somewhere externally, either paper or electronic or I keep thinking about it.

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        • #5
          I usually manage to clarify things before writing them down, but if I don't then
          I might write it on a single sheet of paper and put it in my inbox, perhaps as
          just a few words with a question mark. My "powers of 2" system can be used
          in order to come across it again at varying intervals. Each time I come across
          it, I can try to re-think it and see if I can write something more concrete, more
          doable.

          Occasionally I'll plan an action such as "Go for a walk for the purpose of
          thinking about X".

          There are also written techniques, such as mindmaps, or lists of pros and cons,
          etc. that might help with this sort of thing. You might list as an action
          "draw a mindmap around idea X".

          If you haven't yet figured out how to phrase them as actions or projects,
          you might phrase them as questions, and then start thinking about how
          you might go about answering them.

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          • #6
            If relates to a current project they go into project support. I keep my project support in OneNote, so if you are having a brainstorm/mind dump you can put them all there. If nothing is obviously actionable, then leave them there and just keep adding more as more thoughts come through. Then you need to allow some time to review all of them together, as part of the project review (this might be part of the weekly review, or part of project time) and see if there is anything you can link together and action.
            If it relates to an area of focus, I have AOF support sections to keep this stuff, and leave for your AOF review.
            If not a project nor AOF, then it is either reference or someday/maybe.

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            • #7
              Like Eugene I keep those random ideas that I don't know what to do with in a reference list. I use MS Outlook (sans GTD plugin) as my GTD list manager / platform. In the Notes section of Outlook I created a category called "Ideas" and I create a single Note for each raw or half-baked idea that I've captured. I read the list during Weekly Reviews to see if any of those ideas has solidified into a definable outcome and update my system accordingly.

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