The Problem of Too Many Ideas

What do you do when you have too many interests? You can try to pursue them all by splitting your time into chunks and devoting a chunk to each interest. In theory, if I want to learn Latin, produce a podcast, and start a cooking business, I’ll do an hour of latin in the morning, 3 hours of podcasting on the weekend, and 1 hour of cooking in the evenings.

It turns out that this never works. Stretching your focus like this means nothing substantial gets done, so you don’t see the returns, and then you lose motivation. Without motivation, you’ll stop doing the activities and will end up on tiktok or twitter to pass the time. Then, you’ll get upset for not doing everything you wanted to do. Then you’ll blame yourself for going on tiktok or twitter. And then you tyrannize your schedule even more.┬áIt’s a vicious cycle.

This cycle is both unsustainable and unnecessary. Just because you have an idea does not mean that you should pursue it. An idea is likely foolish, or has limited returns, or a time horizon that’s too long. Just because it came to you doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. What’s needed is a way to sort through all of those ideas and select one for being finishable, doable, and enjoyable.

Finishable meaning that the end goal and the steps to get to it are clearly set out. Doable means that you’re willing and able to spend x hours every day or every week focusing on it. And enjoyable means that you won’t feel like it’s pointless, boring, or painful. Enjoyable also means that you’re able to sink in and get into the flow of it.

As a solution to the issue of too many ideas, you can write down the idea you have in detail. Then, critique it and try to write down why it’s an idea that can be easily replaceable and why it’s more important than your other ideas. Then, ask whether the idea is finishable, doable, or enjoyable. Then, and only then, can it pass on into the pantheon of good ideas. Now, once it’s in the pantheon, you have it in the bank, and you can go ahead and pick an idea to put money, time, and effort into.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *