Using the Action Method to Make Your Ideas Happen

Making Ideas HappenLast year, at the recommendation of a few friends, I decided to pick up Making Ideas Happen.

This book teaches a simple project management solution for creatives called the Action Method.

The perpetual struggle of acting on creative ideas can finally be overcome, thanks to one very simple philosophy:

Less ideas, more action.

My team at the time — a group of designers, writers, and marketers — started reading the book together. We ate it up.

Reading Making Ideas Happen launched all kinds of interesting side discussions and debates and even reshaped how we approached creative projects.

Because we adopted the Action Method, we made more ideas happen.

Creativity without organization

Author Scott Belsky puts it like this: your creativity multiplied by your organization equals your impact.

If you are incredibly creative and completely disorganized, you will have no impact.

Conversely, if you have only half of your creativity and a tiny amount of organization, the impact can be exponential.

Here’s what it looks like:

100 (Creativity) X 0 (Organization) = 0 IMPACT

50 (Creativity) X 2 (Organization) = 100 IMPACT

Does that make you want to get a little more organized or what?

If only it were as easy as a math equation.

The struggle of every creative

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with this. I’m full of ideas but often fail to act.

On my desk I have the following:

  • a partly-written book on my computer
  • a recorded song that I’ve yet to share with the world
  • a stack of books on my shelf that I haven’t read
  • a mess of papers and receipts I need to file and process

If you’re a creative person, I’ll bet that you have your own personal “wall of shame” — a collection of projects you’ve yet to finish.

Coming up with ideas for new projects isn’t the hard part; finishing is.

The idea of adding a little bit of organization (while sacrificing a few ideas) to get more done is very attractive to me.

I’m tired of a bunch of ideas and no action. I’m worn out on meetings. I’m exhausted from brainstorms.

I want my ideas to make a difference. (Don’t you?)

Applying the Action Method

If you struggle with making ideas happen, I recommend buying you pick up Belsky’s book and adopt the Action Method now. Not in a week or a month from now. There’s too much at stake here.

And if not Belsky’s method, then someone’s (even your own). Find something that works, and starting making stuff that matters.

The Action Method is a system that you can manage yourself, or you can use the tools Behance has developed to make it easier (at a cost, of course).

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  1. Use only one inbox that receives all incoming tasks.
  2. Decide if inbound communication is a reference, action step, or backburner.
  3. File references and backburners and review when needed.
  4. Prioritize action steps, set a target date, and do them.
  5. Delegate what keeps piling up.
  6. Review weekly.

I use this method for every creative project I tackle.

Find out more about it here: Action Method
Get the book here: Making Ideas Happen

How do you make your ideas happen? Share your method or system in the comments.

Disclosure: Some of the above links were affiliate links.