Kick-Start the Idea By Planning

This is the second post in the series Ideas From Start to Finish.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned developing web applications is that you have to start working on the idea right away. Channeling that enthusiasm and adrenaline is a great way to kick-start the project. However, while adrenaline is great for short-term results, killer planning will allow you to maintain a steady pace for the duration of developing the project.

But eventually there’s going to come a time when that adrenaline drops off. Usually this happens when the tedious aspects of the dream will eventually dominate your working time. It’s a lot like building the house. The frame goes up very quickly and shows lots of progress. However, it’s the interior finishing that usually takes the longest. The details that don’t show as much progress for the amount of time needed to complete them.

Planning, planning… and more planning

This is when keeping the big picture handy is important. By meticulously planning your venture, you’re going to have a solid framework to work off of, allowing you to remain energized in the fact that you can see what needs to be done before you finish.

When planning the idea, I recommend these four steps:

  1. Get Rid of Distractions
  2. Write down every idea
  3. Track your progress
  4. Always keep the end goal in mind

This should yield an outline of what needs to be done, and the actionable steps required to take them. Keeping track of what you’ve done will also keep the motivation level high, as you can see your progress. Keeping the end goal in mind will keep you focused so you don’t start tacking too many features on to the original concept.

And don’t worry if your original idea breaks plans and changes directions. Many ideas morph into something different by the time they’re completed. Just re-evaluate your plan and the steps needed to finish. Rinse, and repeat.

Don’t Get Stale

Starting on the idea right away also ensures that your idea won’t get stale. Ideas that sit in the hopper for too long will just sit in the back of your brain and keep you from concentrating all the other important things in your life. At least as long until you map out your plan for implementation. If you don’t quickly “map” out your idea, all of the details will be lost inside of that big bowl of pudding between your ears. Forever.

Also, it’s a good idea to constantly review what has to be done, so that you can trim away ideas that didn’t materialize. Keeping your todo list size down will also keep the mind from freaking out because “there’s too much to do!”. This insanity is probably the biggest cause of great ideas not materializing: The idea is too overwhelming for the amount of energy you actually have.

Capitalizing on the early excitement of the idea and then maintaining a steady, manageable pace will keep your idea from growing stale, and ultimately get the concept to the release stage.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Mark Herpel September 13, 2007, 7:27 am

    That is great advice, I’m always writing down (typing) ideas, there are pages of them here and most get followed up. However, I’ve never set up any type of progress report on how far I’ve gotten with a project or how far ‘I should be’. I’m going to try it with two new webs venture and see how that helps me.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Mark

    Reply
  • Latarsha September 14, 2007, 7:39 pm

    Exceptional post! Taking an idea from concept to fruition requires a lot of strength, fiestiness and fortitude.

    It really helps to set the stage for success upfront by latching on to something that will give you the spark and inspiration to keep yourself focused and moving forward.

    Reply
  • Bob September 15, 2007, 1:53 pm

    Hello there! I am inviting members of Priscilla Palmer’s Personal Development List to participate in a blog series based on the Desiderata. I hope you’ll consider participating. Here is a link describing the project: Help Wanted: Desiderata Series. Thank you and have a great day.

    Reply
  • Taylor @ ImprovLifestyle September 16, 2007, 10:47 am

    Planning is always important. Even though I neglect it at times :(. But what really resonates with me is the “follow-through”. Starting a plan of action is easy. Actually going through the motions of doing the task (like, for instance, an exercise regime) is tough. I like Jerry Seinfeld’s simple productivity plan: make a calendar, and put an x on each day you do said activity. Soon, you’ll have rows of x’s, which represent your success in completing the task repeatedly.

    Reply
  • Greg Butler September 17, 2007, 10:46 am

    One of the first strategies I learned in this area of planning was to take a notecard and to put it either in a pocket or in a visible spot and to cross off the items on the list or to put them onto thecard for the next day. Also to give them each a ranking as to which was most important and should come first,etc.

    Reply
  • Modern Worker September 17, 2007, 11:55 am

    I’m someone who likes to dig right into a task but I have been doing more planning lately with better results. Good post!

    Reply
  • Personal Growth September 20, 2007, 12:26 pm

    I like the idea described under “Planning”.

    Very applicable and informative tips indeed.

    Reply