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  • #16
    A couple of people seem to have misunderstood the question.

    I know *how* to brainstorm and have a variety of methods that work well for me.

    My challenge is in phrasing the "brainstorm" NA in a way that turns it into a crankable widget that gets done without mental friction. Verbs like "Outline" or "Freewrite" are no better than "Brainstorm" in this regard.

    Any suggestions?

    Katherine

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    • #17
      Originally posted by kewms View Post
      My challenge is in phrasing the "brainstorm" NA in a way that turns it into a crankable widget that gets done without mental friction. Verbs like "Outline" or "Freewrite" are no better than "Brainstorm" in this regard.
      It seems to me that the place to start would be to identify what it is that's creating the mental friction for you. Is it that "brainstorm" isn't a sufficiently tangible action? Or is it that "brainstorm" is too open-ended?

      For me, "brainstorm" is problematic because it doesn't really carry a tangible action with it. I tend to do better with NAs that actually produce a concrete result in the physical world, and brainstorming is ethereal enough to engage my ADD-ish tendencies. Next thing you know, BOOM - I've wasted half a day. So, I'll list NAs like "sketch out photo shoot ideas" or "create skeleton marketing plan document" - something tangible and concrete, so I know when I'm done. If I have to wind up with something tangible at the end of the process, I'm less likely to get lost in procrastinating.

      -- Tammy

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      • #18
        Originally posted by kewms View Post
        I know *how* to brainstorm and have a variety of methods that work well for me.

        My challenge is in phrasing the "brainstorm" NA in a way that turns it into a crankable widget that gets done without mental friction. Verbs like "Outline" or "Freewrite" are no better than "Brainstorm" in this regard.
        Katherine, the answer is implicit in the first sentence here: pick one of those methods and write that as your NA. I'll try to explain.

        If your brainstorming method involves creating a mind map starting with the thought "Project Weevil", then that's your NA: "Create a mind map with "Project Weevil" as the central thought". If the method involves dancing around in your back yard chanting, then that's your NA: "Dance around in back yard chanting".

        Personally, I always put a time limit on steps that are in danger of being vague: it means that, if that's all I do, then I can cross off that NA and think about what to do next. I've moved one small step forward.

        I think what I'm trying rather unsuccessfully to get across here is that brainstorming is often itself a project, albeit one that we think of as one step. So all we need to do is specify the key, the one concrete (and measurable) thing that will start the process/project, and often we'll do that and then finish the brainstorming in one go. If we don't, then at least we've moved, say, 10 minutes along the path.

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