Start a Hopper File to Keep Track of Your Great Ideas
I have a great idea to promote my business. I’m going to write a newsletter every month with tips on how to do marketing. And I’ll start writing it just as soon as I finish my client’s blog. But first, I need to set up Mail Chimp and if I’m going to have a newsletter, I should put up a signup pop up box on my website. And I will do all of that just after I schedule out the social media for my client. Or maybe it would be better to set up some talks about how to do marketing. I like making presentations. I just need to figure out who is looking for speakers. And I will do that right after I meet with my client to talk about the next steps on his book.
And so the great ideas come and go and fly away like the beautiful butterflies that were in my garden but took off before I could grab the camera. This is where the “Hopper” comes in handy.
You have great ideas for your marketing strategy. Some of them are better than others. Some of them will propel your business to new heights — if you can actually remember them and then implement them before they’re lost along with yesterday’s half done To Do list.
The Hopper is simply a place where you put all of the great ideas until you can get to them. It could be a Google Spread Sheet, Evernote, or a manila file folder if you want to go old school. The point is that every time an idea occurs to you, you write it down along with the date. You could add some notes about what would be needed to make it happen, what it would do for your business and why you want to do it.
Over time, you can compare these flashes of brilliance to what you are already doing to see if they should take priority. You can also see what stands the test of time. Some ideas seem great at 1 a.m. but by 2 p.m. it’s clear they’re best left alone.
Knowing that the ideas are there patiently waiting allows you to concentrate on what you are doing now rather than jumping from one concept to another without finishing any of them. In the entrepreneurial world, it’s called “Shiny Object Syndrome.” The Hopper lets you evaluate all those beautiful shiny objects to see which really deserve your attention and will make a difference for your business.
If you want to set up a Hopper file of your own, here are some suggestions that I have found work for me:
- Make it easy to access. You are more likely to use it if you can add items on the fly. I like a Google Spreadsheet because I can set up categories and add idea columns. But anything that is accessible across devices will work. Just don’t get tripped up in trying to choose one.
- Write down the date on which you came up with the big idea. This allows for two things. One, you may see it’s something you’ve been contemplating for awhile and now it’s finally time to pursue it. Or, two, it’s something you’ve thought about for awhile and the reason you haven’t picked it up is that it’s not such a great idea after all so you can scratch it off the list.
- Write at least a little bit about what it would take. That gives you a sense of when it might make sense to pursue it and can make it easier to set it in motion later.
- Write down the “why.” If you know why you want to do something, you’re more likely to do it. This can help you set up priorities. Where in the big scheme of things does this particular idea fall?
- Give yourself a break. You have more great ideas than you can pursue. That’s just a factor of being your brilliant self. Be understanding of your limitations whether they’re time, money or other obligations. Do what you can and appreciate yourself for doing it. The Hopper is not meant to create a ginormous to-do list with which you can beat yourself up. It’s meant to help you sort through all your wonderful thoughts and act on the very best ones.
- Remember to have fun.