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Working is not only about achievement; it is also about how you feel, how you look, where you work, and how you treat yourself. 

Got ideas? Take care of them!

manuelita otero

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed because you get too many ideas at once? Do you ever wish you could do many things because everything looks so interesting? I’m a little like this. I often happily announce over dinner to my children: “Guess what… I have a great idea…” and in their faces I see a mixture of fear and curiosity. They are usually my first filter and if I’m honest, not all my ideas are great, so they never know what’s coming next.  

I used to think I had an attention problem because having too many ideas at once can affect your focus.  During one of my visits to the library I saw a book titled: “Refuse to Choose”, and I knew that was for me. In her book, Barbara Sher writes about people who are curious about unrelated things and want to do many things at once, which makes it hard to focus and choose. She calls them “scanners”.

For years I have been collecting magazine clips of things I find interesting. I have several colorful folders organized by topics. I guess that was my Pinterest back then. I don’t know when I started or even why. I just see a beautiful photo, an amazing place, a great shot, a mixture of colors and I want to capture it because it inspires me. I never knew that my collection of “beautiful clips” would help me in so many unrelated ways. I have used them for our idea of a bed and breakfast, for our children’s clothing company, for the photoshoots for My Closet etc, my daughter’s vintage clothing store, and for the articles and products for Happily Imperfect.  Not only that, but I feel happy looking over my colorful folders. It’s like food for my creativity and a compilation of possibilities.    

I love ideas. I love it when we give our minds freedom and when every idea gets an opportunity to be contemplated without too much logic or reason. Barbara Sher gives tips to “scanners” so they can gather their ideas and use them in productive ways. To me, what has worked well is defining a strategy to organize my ideas and finding a space to let my creativity go through writing. If I get an idea for a book or a business I open a folder and leave it there until the time is right. If I have time to do research or if I find interesting articles related I know where to store them and I don’t feel the pressure to work on them immediately. Nowadays there are so many apps that can help you organize your information, the important thing is to find what works for you. Also it is great help to be surrounded by positive people who are willing to listen without judgement and then give their thoughts in a creative environment.

If you have many interests and want to do many things, good for you! Don’t think you have poor attention and can’t focus on things, just learn to organize your thoughts, find ways to choose the things you want to work on and define strategies to be able to complete what you start. Ideas are valuable and they need to be treated as possibilities, if not for now, maybe later.

Manuelita @manuelitaotero

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