Be A Lean, Mean, Idea Generating Machine – How?

My brain’s always pumping out ideas. Pop pop pop. Unfortunately – I have a harder time being creative and coming up with good ideas for areas and projects when and where I actually need them most.

Being stuck and ‘paralyzed by inaction’ is frustrating – so what’s a girl to do?

I bought a book :lol:.

Technique for Producing Ideas – James Webb Young
(not an aff link)

David Allen mentioned this book and since I’m still riding my kick that started last summer (see Two Commitments In Your Head Create Stress And Failure and Getting Things Done), I decided to work on organizing, documenting and generating ideas.

James Webb Young’s book is a small, quick read. The technique to generating ideas is basically this:

  • Document all your ideas somewhere (index cards, sticky notes, etc.). Research Research Research and document everything. Gather materials, clippings, notes.
  • Take time to sit down and thoroughly review everything you’ve noted and documented. Immerse yourself in it. Listen. Think about it constantly. Obsess.
  • Then put everything away. Relax, forget about the project, let it go, do something else.

And when you least expect it, your mind does its job, fills in the blanks and comes up with the idea and the Eureka! you were looking for.

Next you need to share the idea with those around you. Get feedback. Encourage input – good and bad. Your idea then expands, grows and is enriched.

Final step – action. Development. Do the work that makes your idea a reality and not just ‘another great idea’ that goes nowhere and does nothing.

The entire process does take discipline and a good amount of work – especially in regards to the research and documentation.

Another tip James Webb Young gives is to be interested in the world around you. He states:

There is one, however, on which I would put greater emphasis. This is as to the store of general materials in the idea-producer’s reservoir.

Learn as much as you can about everything you can. Accumulate and store knowledge – make that a lifelong goal. The knowledge you gather over time comes into play when you need to be creative and find solutions.

Let’s see if this helps get my brain humming and out of this big, fat, rut ;).

I’m keeping this little book within easy reach – I recommend you pick up a copy for yourself.


I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.