ASK US WEDNESDAY: “What do you do with too many ideas and not enough time?”

by Rachel Smith
11 October 2017

Hi Rachel. You’ve written on this blog about having several websites / businesses alongside your freelance work. How do you find time for everything? I constantly come up with ideas for things I want to do: articles I want to write, new things to offer to my clients, or separate businesses altogether I want to start. It’s exhausting and I end up feeling a completely failure because I forget to pitch something that’s topical, or I don’t have time to put a great idea into practice before someone else does it. I end up not doing anything effectively and just feel stretched to the limit all the time. Kerry

I hear you, Kerry. It kills me that there isn’t nearly enough time in the day / week / month / year / lifetime for all the ideas I have and want to action. I even had to slap a ban on myself from buying domain names. My husband was my enabler, and at one point we had about eight unused domain names gathering dust in my Plesk account (that all seemed like great ideas at the time)! Note to self: late night wine drinking and domain name shopping do not mix.

In terms of extra websites and businesses – yes, at one point I had five sites. These days I have my freelance work, and Rachel’s List. I have another site, LetterToMyEx.com, which I give some love to when I have time, but a lot of the other stuff I did before having a kid had to be shelved. Being a parent and a crazed workaholic doesn’t tend to mix either (funny that).

I still get a gazillion ideas though, and here’s my system for sorting the gold from the not-so-good:

  1. Take note of your ideas. You could do this with on Pinterest, Trello or with a bullet journal (which I’ve just started using and will write about in a future blog post). I find writing things down that you’re really excited about then stepping back for a few days helps you get some much-needed perspective. (Much like writing a feature, leaving it for a day, when going back to it – that’s when you notice everything that’s wrong with it!)
  2. Assess how much time you really have. There are a heap of time trackers available and doing this for a week (or a month, if you can stand it) is really important so you can assess whether you actually DO have time to action an idea – be it branching out in your freelance business or launching a side hustle you’re passionate about. Over time, assessing what you can do, and what you need to (reluctantly) let go of, becomes a faster process.
  3. Ask yourself the big questions. If you can’t stop thinking about a specific idea and are convinced it has legs as a business proposition, ask yourself: Will I be interested in working on this long-term? Is it doable financially? Do I have the resources to get this idea off the ground? Can it be monetised / is there a market for what I want to do (a market that is not yet saturated)? If your answer to all of these is yes, you know that’s something you should probably consider in more detail.

Are you an ideas machine? How do you deal with choosing which ideas to action and which to let go of?

Rachel Smith
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Rachel Smith

As a kid, Rachel used to carry around a little suitcase of pens and paper so she could stop and write stories whenever inspiration struck. These days, she writes for a living, in between running the show at Rachel's List. Some of you may actually believe she looks like a megaphone in real life, but it's not the case. Honest.
Rachel Smith
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4 responses on "ASK US WEDNESDAY: “What do you do with too many ideas and not enough time?”"

  1. Helen says:

    Hahaha. I thought I was the only person who racked up domain names! I’m actually considering a short sabbatical to get all of this stuff out of my head so
    I can concentrate on work again. Or make millions from it and never work again. Either is fine!

    1. Rachel Smith says:

      It’s so sad, isn’t it – when you have some AWESOME domain names just sitting there and no time to do anything with them. I had to learn to let go, Helen. Meditation has helped somewhat 🙂

  2. Rachel, I’ve always marvelled at your ability to fit so many different projects into your life and you’ve shared great advice here! I love a side idea and have secret Pinterest boards full of them.
    Once I work through the initial enthusiasm, I try to consider exactly what I want to get out of the new venture and whether I can achieve any/all of those objectives by extending my current business offering, rather than branching into something completely new.
    For example, if I want to open a shoe shop (#dreamjob), could I get the same buzz from pitching more fashion stories to editors and helping existing boutiques with their communications and content? The answer is very often yes which makes things easier, and is also reaffirming that I’m doing exactly the thing I want to be doing most!

    1. Rachel Smith says:

      I certainly can’t fit in as many as I used to – but I have a chubby, funny little reason for that walking around and distracting me, which makes it not matter as much!

      I love the idea of thinking laterally and getting your buzz via different means. If that works for you, that’s great. As an aside, I’m in a FB group called Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine and the amount of women with online apparel businesses is HUGE. Every second day it seems there’s a post about someone struggling (yesterday someone posted she hadn’t made a sale in a YEAR, ouch!)… and I just wonder if the stress of dropping into that very saturated market and competing with established businesses would be too much.

      That said, I love the #dreamjob idea – and I think you would do FANTASTICALLY in any kind of fashion side-hustle that you put your mind to. You also have hundreds more fashion contacts than anyone who just decides to open an online shop. So I wouldn’t let go of the dream just yet… 🙂

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