I have a lot of ideas and they are not all great. Some of them are personal, some business related and others more theoretical in nature. That is great, right. Lots of ideas! Well when you have lots of ideas that means there are lots of roads in your mind, all of which are appealing for some reason or another. That can be wonderful and also harmful. For me, in recent times, it has been harmful.
This is what happens... I have an idea. I clear out as much as I can and focus on that idea. I get that idea up and running (normally a website or online store, etc.). It is up and running... score! Now, I walk away from it. WTF! You just spent days or maybe weeks building this, sometimes even learning how to use new tools, like Photoshop or Squarespace, and now that it exists you aren't interested. It is a feather in the cap; a mission accomplished. It is so dumb! It would be one thing if I did these things and then left them and they just disappeared, but they don't. I am involved in them just enough to be distracted. This becomes taxing when you add them all up. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to meaningless distractions.
Mosquitoes can ruin the hunt for big game. -David Allen
There is no more accurate quote when it comes to distractions. So, of course, this post was born from an IDEA. Idea alert! But this time it comes from a different headspace. This could be the result of the fact that I have been doing some self reflection over the past few months. Basically doing a self-audit with the help of some books and a therapist. I am also on day 10 of this mindfulness exercise I have been doing every morning; which is awesome! What I found was there are so many thoughts in my head that I have to consider that I don't want to fill the limited space I have with any of this other bullshit.
Addition by subtraction.
That was my idea. How many things can I stop doing without causing any impact on my state of well-being (or pursuit thereof) or finances? My thinking was by eliminating some of these outstanding and unneeded responsibilities I would feel more at peace and available to focus energy and thought on truly meaningful things. So I got started....
First thing to go was my Etsy store. What a joke this was! I like to build furniture so a while back I listed some of the items I had built. I went through and made a store and set the shipping and return policies, etc. all of this nonsense. And for what!? Probably to give my ego a boost when someone became a fan of my store or watched an item. Well, I don't really care about selling furniture to people on Etsy nor do I have the proper setup to be able to support it. If I were to actually have success in this area I wouldn't be able to sclae it nor do I want to. Etsy store, GONE!
Next thing, OfferUp account. Gone! Same basic idea as the above except I got to deal with all of these idiots that said they wanted to buy furniture but only had half the money right now or wanted it slightly different than it was. I can think of 100 things I would rather do that try and negotiate the sales price of a nightstand made out of pallets. I don't need to scratch the itch of furniture enthusiasts in the Tampa Bay Area. There are others that can and they are way better than I am at it too.
Next up, my t-shirt website and online store. I poured a lot of time into this one and closed it without hesitation. I learned how to make tshirt designs in Photoshop. I had to learn how to use Shopify then learn how to setup a printshop using Printful. Then I integrated the two applications together so that everything would drop-ship and I wouldn't have to do anything. And it worked! I had a few orders and the integration worked perfectly. It was so cool to have a tshirt store... for like 3 days. Then I left it alone after creating like 40 designs and OF COURSE an Instagram account for it. Do I really care to compete in the tshirt business, no! Do I want the ability to create my own tshirts, yes! Do I need an online store for that, no! Goodbye tshirt store!
Next, all these stupid ass apps that are on my iPhone. Some of them I don't even know what they are for. Goodbye, stupid apps that I never use. You know, you don't need the Wordpress app if you no longer have a Wordpress website. Watch those little icons dance around as you narrow in on the X in the corner; like shooting fish in a barrel.
What next, websites! I have a hosting account through Bluehost.com and have had as many as 12 domains registered under it at any given time. Each domain is a placeholder that whispers 'unfinished idea'... So I went through them and the ones that I wasn't truly passionate about I set them to expire without auto-renew. Granted some of them don't expire for a year but so what, I don't need to worry about them any longer. Some domains that I saved: this one, obviously and another one for a technology/ data analysis consulting company that I want to start (which is why I am getting rid of all of these other distractions). Speaking of these websites and why I have so many registered... there was a time that I thought my secret to being filthy rich was affiliate marketing through Amazon and Bluehost. I actually setup my affiliate accounts and tagging before I had any websites that had any traffic. How much sense does that make?! It just speaks to how easily distracted you can get, or I can get, by unregulated ideas!
To date... I have ended accounts, deleted apps, closed stores, deleted email accounts, ended subscriptions and guess what... My sense of self is still intact. My ego is just fine! I think if no one ever virtually 'likes' a table I built I will be ok... if I never sell another tshirt I am going to be ok and if I don't get rich from affiliate marketing I will be ok. I will not be ok, however, if I let all this bullshit pile up like a damn and block me from doing the few things I really am passionate about.
For me, the next step is figuring out how to manage ideas and opportunities moving forward. I talk about this all the time with my team here at work, the importance of vision and mission to steer the decision making process of our company. It just dawned on me that I do not have a clear vision or mission for myself. I think it will help guide me and my decision making; maybe it could help you. That is a topic to discuss later... for now, I will appreciate the act of stopping.