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9 Guaranteed Ways To Give Yourself Good Ideas

9 Guaranteed Ways To Give Yourself Good Ideas

Good ideas are hard to come by. They seem to strike us at completely random, inopportune times when there is nothing we can do about them.

I call it ‘Shower Syndrome,’ because that’s where my ideas usually surface; when there is nowhere I can write them down, and there’s ample time to forget whilst I’m drying off. But what if there was a way you could guarantee yourself a good idea? Places you could go, things you could do, to put yourself in a place where you can generate ideas, and be ready to take action on them?

I think there is.

And after years of trying to generate ideas, I’ve managed to narrow it down to nine sure-fire ways to give yourself an idea. Whether it becomes good or not, is up to you.

1. Disconnect

Your subconscious spends all day solving problems and generating ideas. It’s constantly running and doing the work your conscious mind just can’t cope with. But whilst we’re inundated with the day-to-day problems, the subconscious ideas can’t make it through to our conscious mind.

In order to allow them freedom, we need to disconnect from the real world. How you do this though, is unique to you: do whatever you find most relaxing. Whether it’s sunbathing, walking the dog, cooking pasta or listening to Beethoven, allocate yourself some time, and focus solely on it.

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You’ll find the minute you disconnect, the ideas come flooding in.

2. Go for a Long Walk

This is your quickest fix for a good idea. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a notepad in your bag.

Walking is proven to help you de-stress, unwind and connect with nature. All things that allow our subconscious minds to wander into the realm of rational thought. You can either give yourself the time to step away from the problem and forget about it completely. Or take the time to think and mull it over.

Either way, putting yourself in a calming environment and stepping away from the hustle and bustle will let the ideas flow. Just don’t forget to use the notepad to keep track.

3. Pore Over the Problem

Tackle the problem directly. Make coming up with a good idea your sole purpose of your day, week or month. Create an ‘Idea Dump’ so you can keep track of everything you’ve thought about and keep going until something feels right.

Having one idea (even a bad one) can start a domino effect, which keeps your ideas coming until you end up at the right one.

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4. Overwork Your Brain

Want to see what you can really do? Give your brain too much to do. Working beyond the problem gives your brain the power to overcompensate and you’ll find yourself with an idea in no time. For example, if you had to come up with ideas for an article, you’d give yourself the task of coming up with ideas for five articles.

Try it on something simple; you’ll be amazed at the ideas you come up with.

5. Go Against Your Grain

You know that one group of people you just can’t stand? Everything they say makes your blood boil. Everything they stand for is completely the opposite of what you believe in?

We all have one.

Delve into their stuff. Read their articles, watch the videos, follow the Twitter feeds – whatever channels you can best access it on.

Let it boil your blood. Let it make you angry, upset or borderline manic about it all. And watch your ideas come flooding in.

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Seeing the point of view of someone who doesn’t follow the same path as you can give you the spark of insight that your idea needs to come to the fore.

6. Read

You’re probably thinking, Well, duh!, at this subheading. But it’s a source of ideas that is incredibly neglected.

Reading is like a data key full of files of ideas you are yet to explore. All it takes is one word in the middle of a sentence to send your mind racing in search of ideas.

It doesn’t even have to be related to your subject, it can be anything: fiction, nonfiction, articles or blog posts. I once even had a business idea reading a cereal box.

Reading not only guarantees you an idea, chances are it’s going to be a good one.

7. Have a Shower

I called it Shower Syndrome at the beginning of the article and it’s proven to work. Showering allows you to completely disconnect, doing a repetitive task.

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Repetitive tasks allow your mind to wander and your subconscious to flow freely. Some psychologists refer to this as being in an “open” state, where ideas and thoughts begin to flow openly by being lost either in a problem or a mindless task.

Personally, I find the shower not only repetitive, but extremely relaxing. It makes for a great place to think. Thankfully, AquaNotes make it a lot easier for your ideas to not wash down the drain!

8. Forget About It

Have you ever found what you were looking for moments after you gave up looking? The lost remote, that missing button or the memo that should have been on your desk?

The same thing happens with your ideas.

Forgetting about the problem gives your mind the time to think it over whilst you’re doing something else. Given a little bit of time, the idea will strike you right in the face when you least expect it.

9. Solve Somebody Else’s Problem

Helping someone solve one of their problems can lead you straight to the idea for the solution to yours. It could be good karma for helping someone out, or maybe just talking to another person can provide you with the magic elixir for an idea.

Help somebody break down a problem and piece it back together. Brainstorm their conundrum, and you’ll suddenly find yourself having great ideas all of your own.

Featured photo credit: Diego Dalmaso via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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