How to Prioritize Ideas – Pick Dave’s Brain

This week’s challenging question comes from Zeya, in Ontario, Canada:

Q:  How do I prioritize ideas in my head? Often I start working on one project, but suddenly think of the other projects that I need to work on, and then the process gets scattered.

Click to tweet this: There are wonderful places to store your wonderful ideas. Your own brain isn’t one of them. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcript:

Are you getting distracted by your own brilliance? I’m Dave Crenshaw and it’s time to Pick Dave’s Brain!

This week’s question comes from Zeya.

Zeya:

Hello Dave. I am Zeya from Ontario, Canada and thanks for taking my question.

From your book, The Myth of Multitasking, how do I begin to prioritize the many ideas that are within my head, so that I have a better chance of completing them?

Often times what ends up happening is I start working on one project and I start to think of the other projects that I need to work on, and then the process gets scattered.

Looking forward to your reply.

Dave Crenshaw:

Thanks for the question, Zeya.

The first thing that you want to do is move away from the idea or at least reframe how you are thinking of prioritizing.

You want to have a gathering point on you at all times–for instance, a tool like Evernote or even just a notepad–so that whenever one of those ideas pops into your head while you’re working on something else, you quickly put it into the gathering point, and then put the gathering point away.

Then later, you go through that gathering point, whether it was the notepad, or Evernote, or just sending yourself an email. And you process each item one at a time. You use the processing system that I teach in Time Management Fundamentals, which is asking the questions:

  1. WHAT is the next step
  2. WHEN it will be done and
  3. WHERE is its home.

In this way, you give full attention to each item but in a timely manner, away from the flow of everything that you’re doing. Then, when it comes to prioritizing you’re just simply taking whatever is most important and scheduling it earliest.

If you want more insight into this process, I recommend that you go through my Time Management Fundamentals course on LinkedIn Learning.

Thanks for the question, Zeya!

And if you would like to pick Dave’s brain, all you need to do is visit DaveCrenshaw.com/ask.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Wish you had more time? What if you could uncover dozens of free hours every week, with just a few simple tweaks? Find freedom with a free copy of Dave’s guidebook, How to Get 10 Free Hours Every Week, by clicking here.