New ideas are distractingly exciting

Be careful of recency bias with your ideas.

productivity
priorities
ideation
Author

Bryan Whiting

Published

June 23, 2022

When a new idea comes to my mind, I want to act on it right away. Perhaps it’s an exciting analysis idea, a new business strategy I want to scope out, or a question to ask a team member.

But as I look back at my backlog of things to work on, all of these ideas were also equally exciting.

Why is it that new ideas have more weight than old ideas?

They say that effectiveness is working quickly on tasks. Efficiency is knowing what to work on. Discipline is the ability to overcome the excitement of a new idea and place it in proper context of all ideas. Sanity is actively saying no to many ideas so you don’t get inundated.

Perhaps a good strategy is to have a “gut check” for ideas. If they don’t pass the highest threshold then let them go.

Process:

  1. What’s the new idea?
  2. What’s the potential impact? What would I do with the output of this idea?
  3. How feasible is it?

Step 3 is tricky because I don’t want a good idea to go to waste just because it’s hard. Judgment is weighing the trade off between impact and feasibility.

I like Google Forms for logging ideas. It’s easy to save a Google Form URL to the home screen of my iPhone to make logging new ideas easy. Grooming those ideas is important. Letting go of old ideas is essential. If only I could do the essential…