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brainstorming is 'sticky'

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  • brainstorming is 'sticky'

    Often, one of my next actions is 'brainstorm ...'.

    I do it, and check it off -- but the next action following the brainstorming doesn't occur for a few days, so, the next day, thinking of the upcoming next action, I revisit the brainstorm and flesh it out a bit.

    And maybe I do it again.

    That is, 'brainstorming' is never really over -- even when it is complete, it can serve as an excellent 'seed' or starting place for further brainstorming.

    How do you bring closure to such a task? Or do you leave it open and make it a project that ends when you run out of time?

    Thanks,
    Arc

  • #2
    Hi Arc,

    Brainstorming is something that I find I revisit as well, though, I think for different reasons. I'd say that while the overall task is never "complete" until you have a finished project (and even then you might be thinking of revisions, or features for version 2.0), but I think there are points where you can declare that stage complete.

    My initial brainstorms, whether they are for a business proposal, blog post, or application to be developed are mostly to point me in the right direction and give me some ideas to work with. Generally, I'll do a quick brainstorm to get an idea of where I should be going, and a few actions to get me on the road. Sometimes this is all that is needed.

    However, if it's not everything you need, there's nothing wrong with revisiting the plan. For instance, perhaps you've gotten started on that application, but now you see you need more detail on how to create a specific module, and you're not quite sure. Now you can start your brainstorming anew, or work from what you've already done.

    This may happen several times throughout the life of a project, when you mark it complete or not is up to you. The other thing to remember, there is nothing wrong with going back to review and restart or revise your brainstorm output even if it's not on your list. If you need a reminder, because there's nothing else from that project, then I'd put it back on, but if not, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Hope this helps!

    Adam

    Comment


    • #3
      Just Make The Session a Next Action

      Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
      Often, one of my next actions is 'brainstorm ...'.

      I do it, and check it off -- but the next action following the brainstorming doesn't occur for a few days, so, the next day, thinking of the upcoming next action, I revisit the brainstorm and flesh it out a bit.

      And maybe I do it again.

      That is, 'brainstorming' is never really over -- even when it is complete, it can serve as an excellent 'seed' or starting place for further brainstorming.

      How do you bring closure to such a task? Or do you leave it open and make it a project that ends when you run out of time?

      Thanks,
      Arc

      Arc,

      Just make each brainstorming session a next action. Once you complete the session, that particular next action is done. You can then just create another next action for a subsequent brainstorming session, or not, depending on how much time you have.

      I wouldn't bother creating a brainstorming sub-project. To me, the brainstorming sessions are just next actions for the project I'm brainstorming about.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm with Scott: The action should be "brainstorm project xx," which you can hopefully accomplish in one sitting/session (around an hour or less, I suggest). That said, it's good to be clear about what your brainstorming session's goal is. For example, I'm putting together a deck of educational playing cards, and I need to brainstorm the next action. So I'll be getting my head around where I am so I can sketch out a plan (but not too far out), and create a list of a handful of next actions.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think that it is important to distinguish between an initial Brainstorm and the subsequent fleshing out of ideas as a Project progresses.

          The initial Brainstorm should be a NA and should end when you are done with that session.

          If later on you feel the need to brainstorm again to figure out the NA then just do it as part of deciding on the NA. You don't need to make it another NA, unless you are in the middle of a Weekly Review and don't have time for a full Brainstorm and would rather carve out some time to do it right. In that case go ahead and make it a NA.

          The point is accept that Projects may require additional thought down the line. Don't get caught up in tying a new Brainstorming session to an old one.

          Always move forward. No one will care that your list of checked off NAs have Brainstorm listed more than once.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mindmanager is amazing for brainstorming. I just got it and am using it more every day to capture and arrange my thoughts on work projects, personal projects, emails to send and my big life plan! I could do the same thing with paper I guess but I like having all my mind maps on my memory stick I take between home and work and I more often have a mouse and keyboard in my hands than a pen.

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            • #7
              Brainstorm as a Next Action

              I've found it helpful to avoid using "brainstorm" as a next action verb. I try to make it more physical and visible. For example,

              Start a mind map re: ...
              (what is the completion here?)

              Open Mind Manager re: ...
              (add to the mind map)

              Open Mind Manager re: ...
              (review to capture actionable items)

              With software applications and websites I struggle with how granular to make the next action. Many times opening a web URL is the next action (next click) or launching an application like Excel.

              I guess it really comes down to the best method for getting yourself to move forward or toward a defined outcome.

              Mark

              Comment


              • #8
                @ Mark Jantzen:

                I think it depends on your relationship to software and how you see software in your personal universe. (Yes, this can be funny.)

                I find that when I do define NAs too granular, I am almost on the way to do them. Because it's just a few minutes.

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