Important ideas come back

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Long overdue, but I finished reading Shape Up. This quote stood out as I’ve experienced its effect first-hand.

It’s easy to overvalue ideas. The truth is, ideas are cheap. They come up all the time and accumulate into big piles.

Really important ideas will come back to you. When’s the last time you forgot a really great, inspiring idea? And if it’s not that interesting—maybe a bug that customers are running into from time to time—it’ll come back to your attention when a customer complains again or a new customer hits it. If you hear it once and never again, maybe it wasn’t really a problem.

I used to keep lists for everything little thing that popped up. Both things that I had to do and things that I wanted to do. These lists slowly became mountains of work with paralyzing gazes, having the opposite effect of motivating me.

At some point I decided to delete all the baggage I’d been carrying around. It was exhilarating!

Now I only add things to a todo list that I’m not allowed to forget, not things that I have to or want to do. Something that’s on a list for more than a week is a smell; maybe it’s not as important as I thought.


I occasionally send out a newsletter with personal stories, things I’ve been working on in the past month, and interesting things I come across.