In this article, I’m going to show you why having a place to keep the ideas that you want to turn into reality “someday maybe” can help you keep you on track and more likely to accomplish the goals you really should be working on. I’ll also show you how to organize business ideas so you can have them for reference later, when they’re more appropriate to implement.
Do You Have Shiny Object Syndrome?
Are you struggling to complete projects? Do you find yourself buying domain names for new projects that you never get to? Do you feel like you’re going in a thousand directions at once and can’t give anything the attention it deserves?
Then you might have Shiny Object Syndrome, where you’re always chasing new exciting ideas instead of giving your current projects your full attention.
Shiny Object Syndrome happens when you don’t have clear goals and a plan based on proven tactics for accomplishing those goals. When ideas or possible solutions cross your path, you’re easily sidetracked and start a new project instead of working on the one you’re already committed to.
We’re more open to distractions when the projects we’re working on become challenging. New projects are exciting and fun. Whereas getting through your current challenge is messy and difficult. Doubts creep in. The flaws in the plan become apparent. So it’s easy to think that something else might not have the same challenges.
Entrepreneurs are especially susceptible to Shiny Object Syndrome because they’re so open to new and innovative ideas. Combine that with the abundance of great ideas that they generate regularly and you can see why some entrepreneurs jump from idea to idea without becoming successful.
So how can you develop a balanced approach that allows you to focus yet still innovate? By creating a Someday Maybe List.
The Someday Maybe List
The Someday Maybe List is a place for you to file your ideas and related notes for later. By designating a place for your potential great ideas, you’ll be able to keep them safe and organized until you’re ready to bring them to life.
The Someday Maybe List is like a to-do list, but without the commitment.
- If you’re working on one business and you get an idea for another business you want to start, put it on the list.
- If you read a blog post about a new marketing technique that is supposed to drive oodles of traffic, put it on the list.
- If you want to start a podcast, but can’t research it right now because you’re working on a blog post, put it on the list.
While the Someday Maybe List can give you a place to store your shiny objects, it also gives you a safe place to dream big.
You don’t have to worry about how they fit into your goals or if you can even come up with a plan to make them happen.
By channeling this excited energy into writing a quick blurb about the idea, you can keep yourself from spending hours researching or buying a domain name when you should be doing something else.
Instead of procrastinating and giving your attention to this fresh idea for a few days or weeks, you can give it 10 minutes and then get back to the shiny idea you’ve already committed to.
The Someday Maybe List is also great because you don’t have to commit to any of those ideas. That flash of inspiration you got at 4am might not be that great weeks later. If that happens just take it off the list! But if it has potential, then leave it for as long as you want to keep it.
What Belongs in your Someday Maybe List?
Big business ideas, but also little ones can live in your Someday Maybe List:
- New marketing strategies
- People you may want to hire or reach out to
- Events you want to put together when you’re an industry leader
- Businesses you want to start
- Companies you want to partner with
- Publications you want to pitch an article to
- Side projects you want to take on once your kids are older
- Charities you want to start when you’re rich
Once you start getting a good list together, you’re ideas can start to compete and you can choose the best ones that you can actually accomplish right now.
I get ideas for all kinds of things. Restaurants I want to open. Novels I want to write. Antique stores I want to open when I’m retired and living in a laid-back beach town that caters to tourists…seriously.
I’m by no means a restauranteur and I’m not retired or living in a beach town. But someday I may be that person.
The point is you don’t have do it all right now. That’s the purpose of the Someday Maybe List.
Plus some ideas just take time to incubate. Starting a podcast, for instance. Something like that needs to simmer on the backburner so you can come up with a good topic, a list of episode ideas and guests. Then when you’ve planned it out properly, you can make it a priority and put it on your to-do list.
Here’s how you can determine if something belongs on your to-do list or your Someday Maybe List. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this a tangent or is this going to help me reach my current goal?
- Is this a proven method of getting me to my goal or just an experiment?
- Will this get me to my goal faster or with less effort?
- Am I procrastinating?
3 Ways to Organize Business Ideas
Some of my best ideas lived in my Someday Maybe List for years until their opportunity came. Here are three tools you can use to organize your business ideas for later.
Create a Special List
The most easy way to put together a Someday Maybe List is to create a separate list in your current task manager. Todoist, Asana, Trello, Airtable are all great places to keep a list; however, a regular pen-and-paper list will do too.
Create a separate page in your bullet journal or planner for your business ideas.
The best tool for the job will be one where you can write a little note about the idea so you don’t forget what it is. I’ve written a one or two word idea and then forgotten what it was. Now I give it a name and write a few sentences or a quick outline.
OneNote or Evernote
If your ideas are really detailed, then a notetaking tool such as Evernote or OneNote is going to be best for the job. Create a separate notebook for all of your business ideas and then give each idea it’s own sheet.
A real life notebook will work for this too.
Notetaking tools have options that will allow you to categorize your note with tags. You can use tags to group your ideas. You can by group marketing ideas, business ideas, side project ideas, etc. to keep it organized.
Create a Category in Email
Create a Someday Maybe category in Outlook for your ideas. This is a great place to keep your ideas because it allow you to see them from time to time so you can keep them simmering in your subconscious.
Which bring us to my next point…
Revisiting Your List for Inspiration Later
A Someday Maybe List works best when paired with a ritual for finishing and starting new projects.
Once you complete a project or task and wrap up loose ends, then you should take some time to plan your next project. There are other time that are appropriate, birthdays and new years or a fresh month come to mind.
These are the best times to review your list and choose an idea to work on if someday is today. Since you’ll have a wealth of curated ideas that you’ve had on your mind, you’ll be able to choose the strongest ones more easily.
Ask yourself the following:
- Is this project a good idea for right now?
- Which of these ideas will get me to my goal now?
- What has changed since the last time I reviewed my list? Do I have new skills, talents, connections etc. that make me better qualified to accomplish something now?
- Is this idea still right for me?
- Which idea has the strongest chance of success right now?
- Do I have the time, energy and resources to make this successful?
- Are there other incomplete projects that deserve my attention instead?
If someday is today, and your project is fleshed out, then you can put the tasks you need to accomplish on your actual to-do list and commit to it fully.
We know from multiple studies that multi-tasking isn’t the most efficient way to get work done, but when we think of multi-tasking we often only think of doing two small tasks at once. We should expand our perspective to include projects as well since multi-tasking with projects can be just as detrimental and draining.
Hopefully with a Someday Maybe List, you’ll be able to formally commit to your best ideas so you don’t continue to switch to new ideas before you experience meaningful results.
Need Help Organizing Business Ideas?
One of the things I do when I work one-on-one with people is help them clarify what their priority is so they can take focused action until it is done.
I’ve found that having a way to deal with distractions is more effective that just resolving to not get distracted. If you’re struggling with shiny object syndrome, reach out to me so we can get you on the right track.