Here are 10 laws of productivity we’ve consistently observed among serial idea executors:
1. Break the seal of hesitation.
A bias toward action is the most common trait we’ve found across the hundreds of creative professionals and entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed. While preparing properly as you start a new project is certainly valuable, it’s also easy to lose yourself in planning (and dreaming) indefinitely. We must challenge ourselves to take action sooner rather than later. The minute that you start acting (e.g. building a physical prototype, sharing a nascent concept with your community), you start getting valuable feedback that will help refine your original idea – and move forward with a more informed perspective.

2. Start small.
When our ideas are still in our head, we tend to think big, blue sky concepts. The downside is that such thinking makes the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept. Can you trial the idea of a multi-day festival with a smaller performance series? Take an idea for a skyscraper and model it in miniature? Work out the flow of an iPhone app by sketching on paper? Once you’ve road-tested your idea on a small scale, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.

3. Protoype, prototype, prototype.
Trial and error is an essential part of any creative’s life. As Ze Frank, usually when we execute an idea for the first time, it kinda sucks. The important thing is to synthesize the knowledge gained during the process to refine the idea, and create a new-and-improved version. Serial idea-makers like Jack Dorsey, Ben Kaufman, and Studio 7.5 all attest: Prototyping and iteration is key to transforming a so-so idea into a game-changing product. Rather than being discouraged by your “failures,” listen closely and learn from them. Then build a new prototype. Then do it again. Sooner or later, you’ll hit gold.

To avoid ‘blue sky paralysis,’ pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept.

To read the rest of this article, please visit the 99 percent.

  1. it’s truly not easy being productive. in fact, weighing productivity against popularity is a struggle we all deal with whether we’re aware of it or not. thanks for the good post 🙂

  2. John Andrew says:

    Great tips!

    I have had a lot of problems with not saying “No” in the past to clients; it really stressed me out and bogged me down but my fiancee kept insisting I turn down the projects that hindered me and when I did, my productivity increased and stress decreased significantly.

  3. I too had a problem with saying no.  I didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until it started affecting my productvity.  I also developed more of a routine or goal setting for each day.  Now my efforts are more intentional and targeted, allowing me to see the end result a lot faster.

  4. TrevorW says:

    Did you guys have permission to lift their entire article and reprint it? That’s a big no-no on the web…  Great insights, but just making sure you’re not copying entire articles from other sites now.

  5. ian says:

    thanks Trevor, i wrote to the authors before reprinting.

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