How to get Work Done: The Life and Death of Ideas

How to get Work Done: The Life and Death of Ideas

How to get Work Done: The Life and Death of Ideas

Jan 11, 2020 – 3 min read

Why we stop doing what we’ve started?

I was inspired by the book “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality” by Scott Belsky, who says that there are many good ideas around us but only a few of them become real. The reason for that is our psychology and the way our brain works.

Many things can stop us from accomplishing an idea. For example “the sky may fall down” or somebody may put a gun to the head and tells us to stop, but these things are very unlikely to happen. In real life other things stop us from doing what we are doing and they can be summarized in two major obstacles we may experience:

  • Loosing inspiration
  • Having too many ideas

Loosing inspiration

Think about those moments of your life when you had ideas and you felt the desire to make them real, but after a few days or a week you have lost your focus.

In the beginning each idea starts with inspiration which motivates us to act. It starts with writing down our idea, brainstorming, initial planning and work. Step by step, we move forward. In short, the inspiration is our fuel.

Unfortunately in time the inspiration decreases. What happens in reality is that we get used to the idea and our brain stops producing the same quantity of dopamine as it used to in the beginning. This is a crucial moment because how could we continue doing something if we don’t want to? The only way to continue is to keep moving no matter what we feel.

We may fall into this trap only if the sentence “I want to…” is directly connected to how much dopamine we have in our blood (also know as dopamine addiction), but not to reasonable judgment telling us that it’s worth doing it because of the final goal.

Too many ideas

There are people who are very creative but combined with lack of discipline this creativity might be a double-edged sword. Imagine a person who is a generator of new ideas. Idea after idea they pop up in our mind and we can’t stop them. We can always write them down and continue with what we are doing now. Besides having ideas is better then having none but imagine a different scenarios.

The new idea brings us joy. We feel inspiration which the old one doesn’t give us as it used to. We start to work on something new “feeling the success” and slowly without even noticing it, we forget about the old idea.

Unfortunately this is not a recipe for success because one day we may turn back and we will see a graveyard of ideas we have abandoned.

How to get work done?

There is no universal recipe because it depends on the particular case but if we fall into any of the traps mentioned above, I would emphasize a few major solutions:

  • Inspiration is a starting fuel but not something we can rely on in long term.
  • Rely more on rational judgement then feelings.
  • Work hard knowing the final goal.
  • In today’s society where social networks and the Internet it is very likely to have so called “dopamine addiction”. The best advice in that case is to split the project in small sub-projects. In that way artificially we will create short cycles giving us the desired gratification.

Long time ago a famous man said:

Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration – Thomas Edison

If you need assistance with your Startup and managing processes, contact me.

(The header image is taken from DigitalOcean website.)

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