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Make Ambition Sheets after Conferences

I just got back from the Write the Docs 2016 conference in Portland, and the conference was nothing short of amazing. It filled with with so many ideas for my organization, my professional development, and my personal projects.

Something I realized I should do last night, after laying down and being unable to sleep because my mind was bursting with energy and passion (while the body was very much the opposite), was to write down all these ideas in a file that I call my “Write the Docs 2016 Ambition Sheet”.

I have four sections:

  • Who I should follow up with (and why): While that might not ambitious, everyone I might want to talk with for whatever reason gets noted here. Whether I push forward on that or not depends highly on my energy level, but just noting it down means I can make sense of what’s in my head.
  • What I want to do for my organization: Anything imaginable goes here, whether it’s something I can do myself or something I need to sell others on. Whether I have the resources or time to do it doesn’t matter; this is an ambition doc.
  • What I want to do for myself: Same as for my organization.
  • What’s something I can do this week: Narrow down the ambition stuff to something actionable.

I write down everything I can think of that I’d like to do, or like to get someone else in on. Everything. I’m not going to do everything I’m writing down, and that’s why I’m calling it an “ambition sheet.” I’m intentionally not committing to anything on this sheet—not even with the last section, since I use “can” instead of “will.” But this gets the ideas out of my head, lets me evaluate them all after the post-conference high has ebbed, and while looking at all my existing commitments.

Will I have time for all of this? No. Will all of these thoughts seem as worthwhile in a week? No. But at least I won’t lose these thoughts, and can go back to them as I need to. Or even, as I’m thinking while writing this, schedule a reminder to look over these in a week.

Next time I go to a tech conference or game convention, I’m going to start this document right away, and add to it as inspiration strikes. If this works out for you, drop me a line in the comments!

—Ryan

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