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What to do when you have too many ideas and not enough time?

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What do you do when you have too many ideas and not enough time? Or what do you do when you have too many tasks and not enough energy?

As an entrepreneur, ever feel like struggling with this problem for some time? There is always another opportunity to take advantage of, or a new product idea that sounds exciting. For a long time, I felt guilty about ignoring good ideas that came my way, so I kept adding more to my to-do list.

Treat them like rosebuds.

Ideas are like rosebuds
When a rose bush grows, it forms more buds than it can bear. If you talk to an experienced gardener, he will tell you that rose bushes need to be pruned to get the best out of them, both in appearance and performance.

After all, a rose bush is not like a tree. It cannot grow wider and taller every year. And that means that if you never cut off some of the buds, the bush will eventually exhaust itself and die. There are only so many resources available. And if you really want a rose bush to bloom, it needs to be cut back not just once, but every year.

Ideas are like rose bushes: they need to be pruned and trimmed again and again. And just like a rose bush, cutting back ideas - even if they have potential - allows the remaining ideas to fully develop.

Just like the rose bush, we face limitations in our lives. We have only a limited amount of energy and willpower to use each day. It is natural for new ideas and projects to enter our lives - just as it is natural for a rose bush to sprout new buds - but we must cut things back before we exhaust ourselves.

In other words: New growth is natural, and it is normal for tasks and ideas to creep into our lives, but pruning is necessary for full growth and optimal living.

We all need to prune good branches
I like the rose bush analogy because it brings up something that gets lost in most conversations about productivity and simplicity: if you want to reach your full potential, you need to cut off ideas and tasks that are good but not great.

In my experience, this is really hard to do.

If you are building a business, you might have 3 product lines that are profitable. Your business might grow fivefold if you focus on all three, but what product line is going to grow 500x if you put all your energy into it?
If you work out at the gym, there are all kinds of exercises that can make you stronger. But what two or three exercises will build a foundation of strength better than all the others?
If you think about the relationships in your life, there are dozens of people you are connected to in some way. But which people bring energy into your life and which suck the energy out of your life?
Most rosebuds could grow if given the chance. In other words, most buds are like a good idea: they have potential. But for the whole bush to thrive and live a healthy life, you need to choose the buds with the most potential and cut off the rest.

The bottom line
Gardener and author Elizabeth Roth says, "Roses left unpruned can become a tangled mess of old and new canes, all competing for air and light."

We can say the same about our lives. A life left unpruned can become a tangled knot of ideas, tasks and projects competing for your limited time and resources. If you don't prune some of the branches in your life, the important branches will not flourish.

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