Instead of my usual semi-quiet life in Singapore, I spent last week on hectic family holiday in Slovakia. Flexing the “idea muscle” on a family holiday seems both like a bad and a great idea.
Finding quiet time to sit down and write seemed almost impossible during the very short period I had with my whole family including my little niece, and meeting at least some of my old friends. I found good trick to find time. I used jetlag into my advantage – I would wake up with sun at around 6am and use the hour or two to go through all my morning routines and prepared coffee before everyone woke up. My day started in a peaceful way just how i like it, and even my Oura ring suddenly started praising my sleep pattern which was nicely aligned with sunlight.
At the same time sticking to the “10 ideas” exercise prevented me from slipping into a holiday-lazy mindset. I tackled some of the issues I felt needed deeper thinking.
- With each topic I collected many ideas beyond the first 2-3 obvious answers.
- Some ideas surprised me – I was not consciously aware that I want to get better at talking to kids. Some reminded me of things I know but don’t practice – for example I realized how many tricks for saving time I know but don’t use
- This exercise can be highly personalized to help with my current problem. Example – During my trip I was not happy about some behavioral patterns of my family members. I don’t have the patent for truth and their lives are their responsibility, so I wanted to express my opinion in a sensitive open way. One of the exercises I did was “10 ways I can tell to people when I think there’s a better way”. It made me think beyond my default set of disclaimers.
- Not always, but sometimes it made me think about the topic during the day, and I would add an idea or two.
- I typically got version of writer’s block after 6-7 ideas, but if I would get past that, I’d usually stop at 12-13.
- It’s not sufficient to generate ideas. I have to follow up on those that I pick. James Altucher recommends writing down first step for each of them, I’ll try that.
- It requires time. Getting really good results requires getting into flow. For me that means to have at least 20 minutes of quiet time, which I may or may not have available. I found it easier to do 2 topics at a time.
- Focusing on 10 ideas only made me filter some of the sillier ideas and overthinking it. That’s when I usually got the block – when the idea filter turned on. Later I decided it’s OK to have more than 10 ideas and it got easier.
Judgement: Hell yes!
I won’t make it part of my daily routine, but it’s a great way to tackle issues. I’ve set reminders to do this once a week, and will use it for specific problems. And I will definitely dedicate 1 hour during our flight back to Singapore to go through all the ideas from last week and take action.