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Using Boxes to Manage Back-Burner Project Ideas
June 9th, 2014 by Entropy

Saving your ideas in a box

Jot down your ideas

Using Boxes to Manage Back-Burner Project Ideas

Ideas are like buses … you’re either waiting for one, or three come at once.

There is nothing more guaranteed to bring in a rush of ideas for a project on the back burner than to be focusing hard on your current project! And it can be tempting to divert your attention onto the back burner project temporarily. What harm can it do? But writing is all about focus and allowing your focus to stray onto a different project inevitably harms the project you’re working on. Either you start to shift your passion, so you’re spending longer on the other project than you mean to, or ideas start to pollute both projects and you can end up with two projects that are muddied together and too similar.

Of course it’s vitally important to be thinking about the next project while you’re working on the current project. So I’ve found the best way to manage two projects in this way is to keep the back burner project on a low boil that keeps my enthusiasm without stealing my energy.

If you’re not careful working on more than one project can drive you crazy and it can ruin both projects. We want everything yesterday but we can’t do everything at once. At some point we have to let go. There will always be plenty more ideas! But, my mind screams, what about *this idea* right now?

Box It!

One of the best ways I’ve found to satisfy the insatiable needs of the back burner project is to make a box. A simple shoe box or a tissue box is ideal.

Prepare your box as minimally or as decoratively as you want, but it does help if you give the box some kind of ‘identity’ that you can engage with. Visually you want to keep the project enticing, friendly and alive. Put pictures on the outside of it or quotes from the story and you can even write a sentence or two about why you want to do this project for those times when you need reminding.

Now tape up the lid of your box with a small hole in the top that is large enough to stuff notes into but not to get them out. A bit like saving pennies in that old piggy bank – but now you’re saving up ideas and preparation and thoughts and inspiration for something that you just can’t get to today but that you’re passionate about throwing your heart and soul, sweat and tears into someday very soon.

Now when an idea for that project pops into your head, no matter how big or small, you simply write it down and stuff that idea in the box.

Next file and forget!! You don’t need that idea cluttering up your attention so let it go … into the box and … into the future.

Trust yourself!

Trust your future self to decide what to do with the idea when it’s time to bring it onto that front burner.

When you come to splitting open the box you will find ideas useful and constructive and some that are not. If it turns out that the ideas you’ve stuffed in there are not that relevant then trust yourself to make that decision and approach the project afresh when you get to it.

Keep on stuffing away those notes! And you can have as many boxes as you want! Keep yourself enthused about the project. You can even give the box a greeting or a little pat as you pass it or whenever you think about it. Trust yourself to get to that project at the right time.

Enjoy the Journey!

Remember that it’s all part of the process. Life is a journey and writing is nothing less. You are a dynamic changing creature, as new today as every other day you have awoken. Writing is a part of your life journey and whatever you write is as much a representation of the time you are writing it as the plans you have for your work. Trust your future self to take the notes that you have written and to use them in the best way possible both for that piece of work and for the person you will be at that point in time.

Happy writing! 

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