I purchased your book recently and although only a short way through, have been able to make some extremely good changes to my way of working. Thank you!
Where I feel I have stalled so far is understanding exactly what the intelligent questions might be to ask myself when starting out on a new project. I appreciate that this is something you feel people should work out for themselves and I can understand that; everyone is different, works in a different way, has different needs, etc. And we need to think for ourselves!
However, I feel it might help me to start if you could explore this area a little more, possibly give the odd example (I have already read the appropriate chapters.) My ‘work’ is now my old hobby, as I am retired; I am working as a textile artist. Any insights you have would be most welcome.
Questioning is at the heart of everything in the book so it’s important to get it right. Obviously as Sue says everyone is different, but neverthless the simpler one makes this process the more effectively it is going to flow into one’s work in a productive way.
Remember that the purpose of questioning is not so much to produce a list of good ideas, but to motivate and engage your brain in the work. The good ideas will certainly come, but they will come as a result of your greater engagement.
So let’s have a look at how this might work. I’ll give an example of how being appointed Marketing Officer for the local chapter of a national social and networking organisation might work. Although I shall fictionalize the details that is exactly what has just happened to me in real life!
I use Evernote for this exercise (though anything will do), and I have a Notebook in it called “Questioning”. What sort of questions do I need to ask myself about Marketing?
I shortcut that whole discussion by just opening a note with the heading “Marketing?”
Then I used my favourite questioning method, which is to list the five best ideas I can think of off the top of my head. My first day’s list went as follows (I’ve expanded the entries so they make sense to other people):
It was this stage that the ideas started generating some action, particulary about the national magazine. This is exactly what should be happening. You are not making a list of actions to tick off. Writing the lists should generate the desire to take action on the ideas that catch your fancy.
So I now put it away for another 24 hours and repeat the process. I do this every day for as long as I feel I’m getting benefit from it.
After a week or so I might read back over the lists to see whether there are any ideas which could be taken further, but it’s important not to keep looking back at old lists. If you become reliant on the lists, your creativity will nosedive.
You may of course find that your question raises issues which need a question of their own. In that case just start a note with the subject plus a question mark, e.g. “National Magazine?”
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