Gone are the days of searching for inspiration. With technology always at our fingertips, triggering an idea can be as easy as browsing Tumblr or reading a blog. However, be warned that in an age of endless ideas and inspiration, execution is lagging far behind.
Scenario: You parents have invited you to their first holiday party tomorrow night with a simple request that you bring Christmas cookies. It’s 7 PM and you have time to get a head start on baking instead of waiting until the last minute tomorrow. Your mom just texted you, “Can’t wait to see what you bring! I hope it’s better than those stale things you brought last year,” adding a typical mom comment at the end.
You’re sitting on your couch, snuggled into the corner with your laptop balancing on your knees and you are flooded with a desire to make the best Christmas cookies your sassy mom has ever seen. But what kind of Christmas cookies are you going to bake? Inspiration is needed. You quickly navigate to Pinterest to start a new board called “Delicious Holiday Cookies” and start searching for pristine gingerbread men that would make Martha Stewart jealous. After twenty minutes of basic food porn and frantic pinning, you have a gorgeous conglomeration of cookies that you feel strongly that you should bake. Right now.
Three problems that I bet will occur for 90% of users:
- You’ve already decided that you should create three more Pinterest boards to reflect your craftiness during the holidays – “Ornaments that would look AH-MAZING on my fake tree”, “How I will wrap all of my gifts this year” & “Cute crafts that I should immediately start”. In turn, you have temporarily abandoned your cookie mission and will now spend one to two hours scouring Pinterest, Tumblr and similar sites for Christmas inspiration.
- Realizing that you are not prepared with cooking and decorating materials to make these treats, you decide that you could really use a new set of cookie cutters that are shaped like Sesame Street characters. Let’s check ebay on that one. Oh wait, didn’t little Johnny want a Rock n’ Roll Elmo for Christmas? Let’s find the best price and save it to the shopping cart.
- You are now hungry from staring at sweets for the last 30 minutes and are too impatient to actually make cookies. You need food now. Time to order pizza and stare at more holiday pictures.
This is how your average brain works in the world of information overload. Distractions are impossible to avoid these days – you need a way to cut through the fat and set a plan of action. I get it – I am guilty of all of the above because the web makes everything look so easy. Having a mission and an inspiration to fuel it is important but in a world where everything seems feasible, there is sometimes a disconnect between what’s reasonable and what’s far-reaching in terms of time and resources. Perfection is what we see online, and sometimes our outcomes IRL don’t seem as brilliant as they really are because of high expectations. For a combination of reasons, particularly diversions and a gap between picture and final product, I feel as though the web is making us seem more crafty and creative than we really are. I can show you a million different crafts that I want to do and have saved somewhere online, but my execution and results are weak.
For the 10% of doers out there:
Congratulations! You have narrowed down your options to Peppermint Cream Bites and Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Ganache. For some unexplainable reason, you just happen to have all of the ingredients for these treats and can get started. Gather, mix, stir, pour, layer, form. You probably should have preheated the oven a bit earlier. Bake, cool, taste. If you executed properly, which maybe 5% of you eager cookie enthusiasts did, your desserts taste fantastic! Give yourself a hug, because you surpassed all distractions and obstacles to make Christmas cookies for your parent’s holiday party. Now just don’t let your boyfriend eat them all before the big dinner.
I feel overrun with inspiration right now, to the point where I don’t think I am seeing or acting clearly on particular projects. My attempts at execution are being restrained. I guess my current problem is trying to make ideas come to life – because I have too many and cannot focus.
Advice for cutting through the noise to make an impact?