Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Creative Thinkers: 3 Ways to Organize Your Thoughts and Ideas with Spreadsheets

“First comes the thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans;
then transformation of those plans into reality.
The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination”
~Napolean Hill

As entrepreneurs we are full of ideas! Our thoughts are often free-flowing and mind-blowing! Most of us also struggle with getting these ideas firmed out and completed.

If you are like me, you have several brilliant ideas in various forms of completion. You also then may suffer with the disappointment of not completing your idea or seeing someone else act on a similar idea first.

Here are three ways to use spreadsheets to keep your creative ideas on target and task.

  • Use spreadsheets to create and track your projects and "to do" lists
  • Use spreadsheets to delegate, collaborate and track projects
  • Use spreadsheets to prioritize your tasks

Photo credit flicker.com Photo by Glen Forde

What I have found to be useful is keeping a “Project List” or “Pending List” in spreadsheet form. I have found this list to be a great time and energy saver. I create a list in a spreadsheet. Simply list the project and then keep track of the various tasks that need to be done.

Make notes of dates, delegations and progress on each task or step if as it is broken down. This keeps notes and progress neatly in one place and easy for reference. Add specific tasks to your daily “To Do” list and then move on.

For example, if you want to create a newsletter for your team, you could quickly use the spreadsheet to organize your thoughts and the tasks involved. By outlining what needs to be done, you can break it up into smaller, daily tasks and have a completed newsletter ready to send within your deadline. By letting the idea fly around in your head, chances are your newsletter will never get sent.

Another advantage to a spreadsheet is the its ability to be shared with others who may be working on projects with you. A mastersheet can be created with various tabs for delegated actions.

Using the spreadsheet method also allows for prioritizing of tasks and ideas using the A, B, C, D method detailed by Steven Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Tabs can be labeled with "Important & Urgent", "Important but not Urgent", "Urgent but not Important" and "Not Important and Not Urgent".  Assigning ideas and tasks to the tabs will help to focus and organize your creative ideas and tasks.

Spreadsheets with their multiple tabs can be a quick and easy way to organize your ideas and tasks.

Take the time to organize and prioritize your thoughts and work. Your success depends on it!

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