Here’s one of the most common complaints I hear from struggling inventors:
I want to work on my invention projects, but I just don’t have time!
I totally agree, it’s challenging to juggle our many commitments – job, family, health, commuting, cooking, kids, chores, birthdays, parties, dates…so here are some ways to help you work smarter and work on your projects without feeling like you’re neglecting the rest of your life!
1. Make your Invention Projects a Priority
They say life happens while you’re making other plans. If you’re not careful, life just happens and your goals and dreams may not come true.
Really, it’s a matter of setting your priorities. Your invention projects don’t need to become an obsession in order to succeed, but they do need your attention on a regular basis.
Be reasonable with your expectations, but if you find yourself envisioning your future with inventing as part of it, then you should commit yourself to it. Otherwise, you are not living up to your true inner desires.
Be honest with your friends and family that your invention projects are important to you and that not only do you enjoy working on them, but the time you spend each week gets you closer to a possible source of extra income or deep satisfaction. They will support you and it will become easier to carve out the time you need.
2. Schedule “project time” which suits your lifestyle
Be realistic about the amount of time you can dedicate to your invention projects each week.
You need to balance your day job (if you have one), family, health, friends…life gets busy! But because you’ve delared your invention projects as being among your top priorities, you should be able to block out at least a few hours each week.
Are you free on the weekends? Don’t just ride the couch or get caught binge-watching Netflix. Life is too short! Get cracking and get a task done or do some brainstorming. It’s much more productive and you’ll feel great afterwards.
Or Maybe you’re a morning person… by waking up early a few times a week to smash out some tasks, do your market research, work on 3D designs or create lists of companies to partner with. These are all quiet tasks which won’t wake other up.
“The quality of our habits and rituals becomes the quality of our lives” – Anthony Robbins
3. Break projects down into tiny bites
When you set a tasks list and the tasks are too big, you end up not finishing them. It gets very discouraging to see the same task on your To-Do list day after day.
The remedy for this is to break all your To-Dos down into tiny tasks which will take approximately 15 minutes.
If you have a large task, for example “make prototype”, you should break it down into smaller tasks:
- Create bill of materials for prototype
- Gather materials for prototype
- Create sketch of prototype
- Start build of prototype
- Finish build of prototype
With this approach, you’ll be able to celebrate 5 times as many wins! After all…a successful inventor is a happy inventor!
Tip: Use the Pommodoro Technique on your invention projects to be more effective
This is a popular productivity technique where you work for 25 minutes with extreme focus, then take a 5 minute break.
There are many free timers available…eg. www.tomato-timer.com
I like this method because it forces you to break things down into smaller more manageable tasks. Completing small tasks builds a feeling of momentum and sense of accomplishment. After all, your positive mindset and consistency are what really.
4. Follow a clear process a use a checklist to track progress
Problem: Invention projects can get side-tracked, delayed or blocked if your next step isn’t completely clear. Uncertainty leads to “analysis paralysis”.
Solution: Follow The Invention Process.
The path from Idea to Commercialization is a well understood process. It’s not exactly a straight line, more of a choose-your-own-adventure. Based on what the particulars of the idea, the industry it is in, your skillset, your contacts etc, you can determine the correct path.
This is covered more in detail in a separate post.
5. Make Productive use of down-time
Waiting in line? Commuting to work? Perfect! Those little chunks of time are excellent times for bite-sized productivity. Now that you’ve got a clear process and broken your project down in a step-by-step checklist, you are prepped to start ticking off those tasks whenever your schedule opens up.
6. Measure your success on effort, not outcomes
While it’s very necessary to have clear goals in mind, you should base your sense of satisfaction from taking action and making progress.
If you focus too much on the final outcome (making money, getting a licensing deal, seeing your product on store shelves, etc), not only will you not enjoy the process, but you’ll be less motivated to keep working.
Key advice: Celebrate your small victories and give yourself a big high-five for every task you complete or new skill you develop along the way.
7. Choose Invention Projects match your lifestyle
Finally, if you find that you just don’t have time for any invention projects because you’re busy with other activities such as taking your kids to sports or keeping your fitness levels up, then just work on inventions related to those things!
For example if your child is interested in Soccer or Hockey, then you could invent a great new product for those sport or to help with training. Are all your friends just interested in partying? You could invent the next awesome party game. I guarantee you’ll enjoy testing out your prototypes 🙂
Learn Step-by-Step how to implement these techniques AND MORE by taking our Personal Productivity Course:
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