Another book that you should consider as a MUST in your library is Making Ideas Happen (Resources area) by Scott Belsky. Scott began his career with a division of Goldman Sachs, Pine Street, and it was during this time that he became fascinated with how people make ideas happen. This led him to create Behance where they specialize in teaching people to make ideas happen. Scott has interviewed hundreds of Creatives who shared with them their techniques including one of my favorites Seth Godin, who has been one of the most prolific creators of recent times.
Scott tells us Creatives that we need to be more disciplined in our pursuit of ideas. I am one that he is preaching to! So his Action Method has been a real eye opener. He says that you can divide up making ideas happen into three areas: Action Steps, References and Backburner Items. So let’s look at each one of these.
Action Steps are just what you would expect – things that need ACTION to make things happen. Returning phone calls, following up on sales leads, creating a manuscript, picking up the milk, etc. However as mentioned before you MUST determine what is URGENT as opposed to IMPORTANT. As Scott shares through his own experience and interviewing hundreds of Creatives, the URGENT usually are not as necessary to making ideas happen as the IMPORTANT.
References are all those pieces of paper that you and I collect at those workshops that usually NEVER are used again! So before you keep all those handouts make sure that they will be RELEVANT to current ACTION Steps or future Backburner Items. If not, toss them into the PC Recylce Bin or File 13, the traditional wastebasket! Some of the References are relevant and should be filed away so they can be easily found again.
Backburner Items are those POTENTIAL projects that you might do in the future like write that novel, do that watercolor, sketches related to future products, etc. The key to these pieces of information is that they are RELEVANT to your personal or business future.
So how do you create the Action Method? Scott recommends using PHYSICAL paper files where the Action Steps for your project are attached with a piece of lined notebook paper to the front of the file. This makes them as we said at military school – “front and center”. References to this particular project are kept in the file itself. Finally Backburner Items related to the project, which might be a future version of the current project, are stapled on the back of the file.
You see I keep mentioning “project”. Scott sees EVERYTHING as a PROJECT! This includes ones like picking up that milk. He says that with all the things bombarding us daily we should turn even this simple task into a project and keep track of it. The more accustom you are to project management the more often you will use it.
Yes some of the people he interviewed and talked about were DecaMillionaires like Seth Godin, the late Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Tony Hsieh of Zappos.