The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Are you Idea- or Task-oriented? April 7, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Future audience,Musings,Planning — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:27 am

I got this email from one of my clients a week ago. It said “I love how task-oriented you are.”

People’s brains work in different ways: in my experience, I find that people tend to be either idea-oriented, or task-oriented. Idea-oriented people have big ideas, and seeing scenarios in the future is no problem for them. Task-oriented folks tend to be more in the “now” and ask, “what do I need to do right now to make things happen?”

This guy? Probably an ideas man.

And that’s me: task oriented. A doer.  It frustrates me sometimes. I’m a small business owner–I should have some kind of plan for the future, right? Five-year, ten-year goals? Yeah, I got nothing. I have goals and plans for this year, but beyond that, it’s fuzzy.

However, I have an extensive to-do list already constructed for today, and most of the stuff on it will likely get done.

I write this blog in a very task-oriented way: I often share tips that include screen casts and “how-tos.” Because that’s what I value, so that’s what I tend to write.

Don’t get me wrong–Ideas people are important, and needed. I could use one, in fact. But I sometimes get frustrated with ideas people, because at some point, I have to stop dreaming and start doing. That’s just who I am.

We need each other–if you tend to be quite task-oriented, I’d encourage you to find a friend in business who is idea-oriented, and meet with them once a month. You can help them to create a plan to get things done, and they can help you with your vision for the future.

And if you are one of those people that moves seamlessly between being Idea- and Task-oriented, well, then I hate you think you’re nifty.


12 Responses to “Are you Idea- or Task-oriented?”

  1. Shelley Says:

    Don’t hate me 😦

    … I’m also right AND left brained.

    Believe it or not, it can be extremely frustrating to be BOTH task and idea oriented… particularly when not everyone reads your script. Sometimes one feels that the goals that are set are solely theirs and that they are the ONLY ones that care to do anything about getting there, though all will benefit (i.e. building a fence and landscaping the yard… true story).

  2. Shelley, I think you’re nifty. 🙂

  3. nuovofresco Says:

    I like Rodin. He worked in decorative arts for a long time before he received any real commissions of note. I bought a book on him on my 40th birthday. One of the early chapters was called “40 years of obscurity”. It totally changed my life, although I have a blog now and a to do list, I still have no real plan. I think everybody is nifty except Brian B. who used to beat me up during lunch hour in Junior High School.



  4. Ross, I think you are definitely nifty.

  5. nuovofresco Says:

    thanks Rebecca, you’re nifty too, don’t forget.

  6. nancykenny Says:

    I’m an idea gal. Big dreams and big visions but no precise outline of how to get there. I try and write to-do lists (and when I do them, things to get done) but it’s a chore and I’d rather just get to work and see where that goes. I’m a gut-feeling type too and can rarely stay focused on one thing at a… SQUIRREL!

    Honestly, I don’t know how I get anything done.

  7. Ideas? I got plenty of those. To do list? Sure I’ve got a to-do list…. It’s here somewhere… Haven’t seen it in a while though…
    Hey, while I’m searching, let me tell you about this great idea……

  8. Once again, a great post. Challenging topic, rife with preconceived notions.

    Having worked successfully in the theatre as an idea person for four decades, I have acquired some wisdom in this area that may or may not be helpful to others.

    1. Learn to say NO to good ideas.

    2. For every YES idea, establish ‘next steps’ and a deadline.

    3. In addition to your TO DO list, create a STOP DOING list.

    4. Learn to DELEGATE stuff that others can do, and focus on what ONLY YOU can do. That becomes your TO DO list.

    5. Hire an assistant*, virtual or otherwise to do the stuff you DELEGATE.

    *Can’t afford it? If you have a business, you can’t afford not to. It is the best investment you will ever make in your company.

    5. Choose an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER, and regularly check in with each other: one a week, once a day, whatever works to keep you on track.

    6. Once a year, take two days away from your regular workplace to look at the big picture. What is working? What can work better?

    7. Create a ONE PAGE PLAN of YES ideas with timelines, and commit to it with your ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.

    Every one of these points has been hard-won, and test-driven. Let me know if they work for you!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this, Ann. Fantastic stuff.
    I’m sad I didn’t know about it earlier because I would have asked you to do it as a guest post. 🙂
    I’m doing this! Who wants to be my accountability partner?? Nancy?

  10. Kristi Fuoco Says:

    I think I’m a bit of both two and it also drives me a bit nuts at times. I kind of envy you for just being one 🙂 Nice post!

  11. Thank you, Rebecca – and good for you for immediately putting out the request for an Accountability Partner. Let me know if you have any questions.

    On the subject of putting together a timeline: since reading your blog I’ve been curious to meet you: do you remember I inquired whether you ever come to NYC? Well – one year from now I’ll be in Vancouver for the Women Presidents Organization (WPO) annual conference – the week of April 18th or 25th, 2011 (exact dates to be confirmed). Let’s put it on the calendar and we’ll arrange something fun!

    And I’d be honored to do a guest blog for you any time. Keep up the good work.

  12. Nancy Kenny Says:

    I would love to be your accountability partner! I think that might work well for us since we’re opposites.

    Really great stuff from Ann! I need help in the No department.

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