10 Idea Addict Hacks

As Idea Addicts, we have to learn how to best function with this gift. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in a frenzied state. Do not let your ideas paralyze you. Here are some hacks you might find helpful.

#1 An Umbrella
No, not a physical umbrella. An “umbrella” is a covering that gives you structure but also gives you freedom. It allows you to ideate to create new things but all within a structure that is moving in a particular direction. In my case, as a coach, speaker, writer, I have the ability to try many new ideas, but I keep them under my business umbrella.

#2 Margin to Ideate
You need margin in your life, in order to ideate. Ideas do not come when you are super stressed out. They come in the margin. And so, you need to look for ways to add margin into your life.

#3 Another Idea Addict
Ideas are contagious. They are like rabbits, they multiply. You need at least one other Idea Addict in your life that you can take all your ideas to. If you do not have this person, there is a good chance you will drive the other people you are trying to make into this person, crazy.

#4 A Trained Mind
It is important as an Idea Addict to learn to manage your thoughts and to be able to shift from ideation to other activities and tasks that need to get done in your life. In Deep Work, Cal Newport talks about the importance of empty space (time for your mind to wander), shutting down your day and not working all the time. He ends his day with a shut down ritual. He does not work in the evenings. His laptop and devices are not part of his evening ritual. I have not implemented these boundaries in my life yet, but I think they are important and I am working towards them. Boundaries to protect your mind are an important part of being an Idea Addict.

#5 Great Habits
In the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks a lot about the brain and the importance of habits in our lives. In order to have great ideas we need to have great habits.

#6 A Notebook
For me, I use Evernote to record my ideas. They come every day, throughout the day and sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night. You need a place to record your ideas.

#7 A Blog
Blogs are awesome because they give you the opportunity to flesh out some of your ideas. Even if nobody is reading your blog I think there is a benefit to having one, to having a place where you can get your ideas out.

#8 Email Ninja Skills.
You do not get paid for checking and replying to email. It also does not lead you to a fulfilling life. Email is a tool. Use it as such. Develop awesome skills at managing email. Do not let email rule you.

#9 Learn to Read.
A friend of mine told me, “I don’t have time for good books, I only have time for great books.” It is true. There are a ton of amazing books out there. It makes no sense reading average books. Do not spend time reading books that are just good. Do not feel like you have to finish every book that you start. Read great books.

#10 Declutter
Clutter kills. Hoarding physically, digitally and mentally is not good for your ideas. You need a clean space. I ask three questions when I’m looking at physical clutter.

1) Have I used this in the last year?

2) Am I going to use it in the next year?

3) Is it cost prohibitive to buy a new one?

If the answer to all of these is “no,” you can clearly get rid of it. I once used these questions and threw away 15, 30 gallon bags of paper going all the way back to college. Yes, I still had a bunch of paper left over. Still working on this one as well.

What hacks have you found helpful as an Idea Addict? Please share in the comments below or on social media. Thanks!

Add yours ↓
  1. Holly

    This is great, Adam. I like the idea of margin. I’ve noticed that some of my best ideas and clarity come when I’m working out, outside, alone – running, hiking, cycling. When my brain has nothing to pay attention to (other than not crashing 😉 ) great things happen! I love Evernote, but need to work on the clutter, not that I hoard, but we have tons of crap that moved here with us that needs to be sorted through. It will get done though! Thanks for the great tips!

    August 29, 2016
    • adamsuter

      Ha! Not crashing is good. Absolutely Holly. Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, talks about how your brain needs those times to sort things out.

      Ah, yes. We still have boxes too. One thing at a time. Me too.

      September 7, 2016
      • Pat Sue

        I especially reasoned with 9 and 10. I have a Nook with everything in it from the complete works of Charles Dickens to the Bible. I have gotten tons o free books, but if the first Chapter doesn’t f grab me, I delete it. As far as decluttering, I have lived in the same mission for 30 years, have a walk-clostet that is as big as some people sleep in, and just sent another box to good will. The main reason I hate clutter is how hard it is to find things. I still haven’t found the second pair of glasses I bought in April, and have been forced to buy a new pair when the first one broke.

        October 2, 2016
  2. Amy McConkey

    Reading your book and loving it so far! Love these ideas, especially decluttering mind and physical space.

    October 1, 2016