Let’s Talk About…The ‘Ideas’ Trap

Q: I’m great at having new ideas, and yet never seem to move forward. Help!

Some people constantly generate ideas, big or small, and it can become very difficult to progress any one task – almost like a child ricocheting from new toy to new toy at Christmas! In work, these people are invaluable when creative thinking is needed, but are often the least interested in sticking around to ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’ because they’ve already bounded enthusiastically towards the Next Big Thing. However, idea-overload can actually cause inaction or freezing – this is particularly frustrating if you work for yourself and are reliant on your own momentum.

Try the following question every time you get stuck or overwhelmed: “What is important right now?”. This can help bring you back to strategic thinking, without diminishing the potential of your various ideas. Ideas that fulfil your most pressing current need will soon stand out against those that do not, ensuring that you move forward with the right idea at the right time. Accompany this with a discipline for note-making, so that your ideas are not lost.

Your frustration also underlines well our misplaced pride in broad multitasking. Strategic focus is the only thing that really moves a person forward in an effective manner. Ask yourself the above question daily, or more, if you feel that your creativity is overwhelming your activity.


This Q&A was first published in Irish Tatler magazine.

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