Do You Strangle Your Productivity Using This One Phrase? - Christine Kane

As entrepreneurs, we’re idea people. Our gift is coming up with cool new ways to serve, make money, delight our creative minds, change the world, whatever.

The challenge is that with this trigger-finger, fast-thinking brain of yours, you tend to forget things like, you know, the time it’ll take to carry out your idea.

When you have a brilliant idea, the sharing of it is easy.

The way it usually starts is with this phrase:

All I gotta do is…”

And what follows that phrase always sounds so easy, right?

All I gotta do is post a few videos and that’s it!”

All I gotta do is a three-day event!”

All I gotta do is sell 100 people into this program to make $100,000!”

The problem ISN’T that you get ideas!

The problem is that you – in your in-the-moment quicksilver idea-driven brains – forget there are steps involved in the doing of these ideas. (Especially if you don’t have a reliable team running things for you!)

Like learning exactly HOW to edit that video that got all messed up when your BFF started texting you frantically (**Plink! Plink! Plink!**) mid-stream.

Or strategizing how to get attendees to your three-day event.

Or understanding that about 5000 people will need to find you before you can sell 100 of them into a $1000 program.

This is not to say that I’m not a fan of all your ideas and enthusiasm. I totally am!

It’s that I’ve seen too many ideas lead to a breakdown because there was no strategy to prepare the haver of the idea for the required action steps.

Many years ago, one of my coaches (yes, another idea person) told me I could fill my upcoming event and “just do a few tour stops” to promote it.

Tour stops? Well, that sounded easy. And hey, me being a former musician? A tour stop should be a breeze, right?

All I gotta do is a few tour stops!”

Well, fast-forward 45 days to me sitting in an airport lounge with my Ops Director facing a flight delay. Both of us exhausted from the travel, the hotels, the meeting rooms, the marketing, the sales and the PowerPoints. I looked at her and said, “Having the idea for doing these tour stops was much easier than actually doing them, huh?” And we both broke into a fit of giggles that didn’t stop for about 15 minutes as we sat there in BWI waiting for our plane.

In other words, no one took the time to examine the level of impact this idea would have on me, on my team and on our time. It was an in-the-moment idea that may have been a great idea for the NEXT year’s event. But maybe notsomuch for THIS year’s event.

That moment in the airport was a turnaround for me as a business owner. And it is exactly why, when a client brings a new idea to the table, I celebrate the idea, and then help them look at it from all angles… lifestyle needs, team bandwidth, mental health, self-care, marketing, delegation, etc.

So, go ahead. Have your great ideas.

But first, run them through a clarity process. This will ensure that you get the most return on your investment of time and money.

Here are five key questions to ask yourself when you hear yourself saying “all I gotta do is…”

1 – What is the purpose of this idea?

2 – What skills will I (or my team) have to learn in order to carry out this idea?

3 – What impact will this have on my or my team’s time?

4 – What is the benefit of doing it?

5 – What is the benefit of putting it off?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. But the clarity you get when you answer these questions will lead you to a greater awareness of the strategy involved in bringing an idea to fruition.

So what’s your latest greatest idea, and how will it impact your time?


  • Roxane Lessa

    THIS is a great article for people like us. I will post these questions on my desktop. Thanks for nailing it again Christine.

  • Jennifer Kennedy

    I love the idea of using a filter for your ideas. I’m like many who are quick to say YES to everything. So, asking the question “What is the benefit” has been super important to me.

    Recently, I was involved in a few training programs where I had to provide content. I learned a lot, but at the same token I spent lots of time away from my own projects.

    It’s definitely worth it to step back and spend time reflecting instead of making quick judgements. Thanks for this post!

  • Sandy Rees

    I think I’m the world’s worst to get an idea and jump into it without thinking it through. I always think things will be easier than they actually are. Fortunately, I have a great assistant now who always pulls me back for a second while we think through the project. I think I’ll add these questions to our process. Thanks Christine!