Do You Have Inspiration Overload?

Too many ideas without taking action is like eating a whole bag of Fritos but not getting off the couch.

Symptoms include:

• frustration

• lack of energy

• spending money on supplies to feel like you accomplished something

• insecurity

Pinterest is the best source for quickly finding inspiring ideas. I love to use it. It helps me when I want to take a break and also during this home renovation when I want to show my husband Doug examples of a countertop or curtain color I’m considering. Total time invested: 2-5 minutes max. Pinterest with all of its pretty pictures is like Fritos with a 7-layer dip. It’s even better, but that doesn’t mean you should consume the whole bowl.

Just because you have a good idea, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Read “How to Protect Your Time from Too Many Good Ideas.”

But if you do nothing, if you just sit there, then what is the point? It’s better to take one idea and bring it to fruition than to continue to collect more ideas.

Taking action makes you feel:

• motivated

• energetic

• confident

What is one idea that you can work on today? *cue soundtrack. It’s time to get moving.*
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Putting into practice what I preach – I’m getting off the computer to clean up some end tables that I bought on Craigslist. They’ve been sitting in the garage for a couple of weeks. What are you going to do?

  2. Thank you for this timely reminder to actually put my good ideas into action! I’m in the process of creating and launching a new blog, and I’ve got so many great ideas, I don’t even know where to start! But the key is, JUST START!

    Thanks, and have a great day!
    Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds´s last post…One Thousand Gifts – Week Eighteen

  3. I agree wholeheartedly! I have more crafts and ideas pinned/bookmarked than I could possibly do. I am off to unload the dishwasher so I can have some fun framing up a poster for my bedroom…
    Catherine´s last post…Day 24 – Old frame makeover

  4. I bought fabric for a Pinterest project (which should only take me 30 minutes, tops). I’m going to do it today!!

  5. I also get sucked into Pinterest sometimes. I’ve definitely pinned way more projects than I’ve actually made.

    Today I am tackling the dreaded craft supplies drawers in our closet… (which I think I mentioned in a comment a few weeks ago, ha!) The goal is to get the drawers cleaned out so I can move 1 bookshelf from our room to our closet, so I can free up space to rearrange our bedroom with my mom on Thursday!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    • Sometimes I pin something just because I like it, but I’m not making a commitment to do something. Then I can look at the collection and decide.

  6. When I first found Pinterest, I got sucked on for hours. However, now I’ve been able to calm that down to a few minutes every few days and really use it for what it was intended – as a place to store all these ideas in one place!

    I’ve made several projects that I originally found on Pinterest, but today I’m going to be making a new soup from a recipe book that I discovered because of a pin! :-D
    Carrie @ Busy Nothings´s last post…The Stockings Were Hung :: Gift Ideas

  7. Thanks for the timely reminder. I have way too many projects to list. I’m getting off the computer and on with life.

  8. I’ve actually avoided Pinterest for that very reason – because I would too easily get sucked into pinning everything I liked, and do nothing else. I do have lots of crafting ideas bookmarked in the “old school” way and need to get moving on a number of them. Today: make trick-or-treat bags for my girls. Deadline is Friday when our church party is scheduled. Then it will be back to work on the doll blankets I’m making for Christmas presents. Two months until Christmas! Deadlines are good.

  9. This post rings so true for me! Not only do I eat whole bags of chips in one sitting (!), I often feel so overwhelmed by the amount of ideas I have about what needs doing that I do nothing. I also love Pinterest, but have lost hours of time on there, too. Thanks for the inspiration about taking action because I know from experience that you’re right about how good it will feel!

  10. Oh my, do I have to hear (read) this :) That’s exactly what I have been doing lately (well, since I had my 7th baby 5 months ago). I have not felt up to doing things, so when I had some time, I spent it in front of the computer “getting inspired”. But you are absolutely right. Too many ideas and hardly anything done (in my case mainly sewn and organized). Thanks for the sermon.
    Natalija´s last post…Scrapping for Robyn Gough

    • Did you say….SEVENTH baby? Just FIVE months ago?? Omg, now I really know I have no excuse!

    • In your case I think that sounds like a nice way to spend some down time. No pressure intended, and then anything else is bonus.

      • I have been thinking about this a bit more. And I am starting to think that while I shouldn’t stress much (especially with a sick baby a the moment), but that doesn’t mean that I should not do anything at all. So, this is my decision. At least for another month till baby turns 6 months I will not pressure myself of getting back in the swing of things, but I will try every day to do a little bit. Like at least 15 minutes of some kind of sewing. A bit is better than nothing, right? Also a little organizing (like small spaced – one shelf, one drawer, etc.), but no large things, because I know that I won’t be able to handle it. I will have to make a little plan and move slowly, but surely.
        Natalija´s last post…Scrapping for Robyn Gough

  11. Having inspiration overload leaves me feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I have to constantly remind myself where my focus is and keep it there in order to get something accomplished. Accomplishment is a better feeling than having loads of ideas that never take off.

  12. Celeste in Dallas says:

    I too suffer from inspiration overload. I want to create photo albums of every event and decorate and hang-up pictures and bake and clean out my closet and the list goes on and on.

    Question: When do you know to say “No” to something or is it a question of making time for something???

    My inspiration overload symptoms include feeling overwhelmed and freezing up so in the end I accomplish nothing.

    • I try to focus on my goals, so right now my efforts are to get the home renovation done, and I don’t focus much on any other projects that can wait.

    • Celeste, your question is one of the questions of this age, I think. I have been blogging about it for the past few weeks as a response to a question posed to me on a panel discussion for an audience of moms. Later today, I’ll be posting another installment as we explore the topic of balance in our lives.

      A quick answer is a term I first encountered here on Rachel’s terrific blog: personal filters. I have been profiting from spending time thinking and writing about how personal filters help us regulate and balance our lives and get us to our goals — everything from completing a decorating project to producing happy, useful offspring.
      Lori´s last post…Wise Words Wednesday: What Somebody Wishes You Knew

  13. Yes, spot on! I sketched this little diagram (I like how it looks like a little stick figure holding the scales) and pinned it up on my bulletin board. Too many wonderful blogs to read and ideas to follow – a challenge to find what fits for me, my family, my home. Thank you for the encouragement to limit, to not miss out on what I should be doing, and to actually DO something with it all. Appreciate it!
    MAUREEN´s last post…Fierce

  14. I completely agree. I’ve implemented a weekly “Finished Friday” feature on our blog to make sure I am checking things off my someday list.
    Allyson @ A Heart for Home´s last post…Book Nook :: October 24th

    • I love the idea of having one day a week dedicated to finishing rather than starting.

    • This is a great idea. I do this sometimes when I have too many started projects. It is very satisfying to finish a bunch of things, even if some a small mending jobs that have been sitting around for a while. It also makes me more motivated to do more once I have finished a few small tasks.

  15. Rochelle R. says:

    Oh my great goodness Rachel, this was the most timely post ever. I love it when God speaks to me in the most simplest and subtle ways. I am definitely a creative person and inspired by many things of interest. I’m a mom, a hairstylist (out of work and trying to find myself), love organizing, making my house beautiful, knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, and styling. Most of the time I am overwhelmed by my creativity that is causes me to be paralyzed by my own ideas. I was just sitting down this morning trying to clear my thoughts on paper to organize where my energy should be invested in as well as regain where my passion is. Low and behold I get this post. I love love love it, it means the Lord is speaking to me. Thank you for being a vessel.

  16. One idea? Submit that query for a magazine article that’s been floating around in my head.
    Amy Sullivan´s last post…The Island of Me

  17. Wow, thanks for this post. I get inspiration overload all the time. You’re right that bringing one idea to fruition is more important than collecting ideas.

    Today I will clean up this huge stack of magazines on my desk. It may be a little thing, but the clean space will do wonders for my energy level.
    Sage´s last post…Fashion Challenge: Menswear or Oversized Pants

  18. How do you always know!? You have an uncanny ability to predict exactly what I need to hear.

    I have a ridiculous amount of stuff planned for November. However, I’ve already pledged to cut some of it out if it gets to be too much. I’m just going to ride this wave of motivation as far as it will take me.
    Jennie´s last post…My Life Resists Simplicity

  19. Hehe…my phrase is catching!
    I am organizing some things in the attic today!!!

  20. I do have this problem! What I do is keep a running list of all of the inspired tasks I want to take on. Then, I choose one, and vow to work at it until it is finished. The list keeps growing, but at least I feel like I have it under control!

    Jenna@CallHerHappy´s last post…A Pinteresting Party

    • Also, I should mention that I recently had a Pinterest Party. So many of us have this overload that we decided to get together and spend the day creating things we found on the site and eating recipes found there as well. It was a great day to get all of our fun, inspiring ideas to work!

      Jenna@CallHerHappy´s last post…A Pinteresting Party

  21. Thanks for diagnosing me. I think I need to toss some of my projects and just focus on a few.
    Reese´s last post…Insta-ghetto-gram

  22. Thank you once again for hitting the nail on the head…I was just looking at ideas for little girls dresses and thinking about a new design, but I had already told myself I would only do two designs this fall…sticking to it and making them better!!! Feet are now on the ground and going forward.


  23. wow, this is uncanny! I just signed up on Pinterest less than an hour ago! You are right, I’ve spent so much time on there before I even signed up. Yikes! For finishing today, I’ll put away that basket of clothes that’s been sitting on my bedroom floor for two weeks!

  24. This is exactly where my thoughts have been lately. I just blogged about the importance of saying no. Saying no–even to projects that I want to do–is actually liberating, because it gives me energy to focus on a few things and bring them to completion.

  25. YES! pinterest gives me total inspiration overload!!! i’ve had to prioritize my pins lately and decide what i’m actually up for tackling and which things i’m okay to just look at someone else’s lovely photos of. my blog post for tomorrow morning features two things i actually pinned and then executed on! they’re totally tiny and manageable projects, which is probably why i was able to actually DO them. thank you for this post. i need to remember to say NO to more things – especially as the holidays approach – so that i can say YES to myself and to my family.
    jen |´s last post…liquid watercolor experiments

  26. There is SO much to see and want to do on the web, I do get overwhelmed… a lot and often. Oddly enough, it’s not from Pinterest. I do love Pinterest (a lot), but I use it primarily for “visual bookmarking” of the things I find elsewhere. My “overwhelm” comes from my feed-reader.

    You’re right as usual, I always always feel better about working on a real project than I ever do about hours on the internet. But sometimes I need a reminder… thanks! :)
    Stephanie´s last post…Frugal (Yet Manly) DIY Shower Soap

    • I find myself reading blogs about how to “be better” so I do tend to pull back from that sometimes too.

  27. This is so me lately! I have lots of supplies accumulated. Thanks for the reminder to actually use them!

  28. Wow, this makes me think back about all the money I spent over the years for the ginormous amount of ideas for projects that I had but never actually started or completed. I’ve done myself a favor and resist the urge to spend on any more “Hobbies” while I also clear the clutter left from “Hobbies” never begun!
    Christyn@StrivingforSimple´s last post…Bringing Baby Home

  29. Have never tried Pinterest (or Twitter) because it would be highly possible for me to get sucked into it (like I did with Facebook and now hardly ever get on it because of that).

    What will I do this evening to catch up? Send an email I’ve been putting off…

  30. EXCELLENT timely post and great discussion! Thanks for helping me focus. :)
    Jan´s last post…The build continues…

  31. This was the perfect post for me to see today (always!)!! I read this out loud to my husband and he thought I was just observing what I always feel/do! I really do go out and just buy more stuff to make it feel like I’ll get somewhere with a project, when really, I have MOOORE than enough already! I could open my own craft store haha. Thanks for this post and I’m also going to get off the computer and do something :)

  32. Great one! We were just discussing this kind of thing on my blog .. though in the context of too-many-things-to-do overload. I find it helps to start with one thing at a time, and focus all my attention on that one thing. Then move on from there.

    Though, saying that, I’m over here commenting when I’m meant to finish marking postgrad essays ….


  33. Agreed there are too many ideas of things I’d like to do! I like using evernote (which I discovered thanks to you) to at least categorize my ideas when I come across something…that way when I’m wondering what do decorate for Christmas I can pull up a note with a ton of eclectic pictures!

    Finishing a Blurb book of my baby’s first two months of post-womb life is my idea to work on today/tomorrow. I was going to do monthly books, but I think bi-monthly might be a bit more manageable!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Tatum’s Twelfth Week

    • Yes, if I can give you some advice, don’t do monthly books. Because with your next baby you won’t be able to do that much, and your second child will be wondering, “where are my books?”

  34. Every day of my life..I panic I have so many ideas and not enough life to do them in. My focus right now is getting my blog and Facebook page Tasmanian Minimalist happening. All my energy is going in that direction xx
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…The Very Expensive Salad- Yes It Was Worth It !

  35. So true. Pinterest is really fun and I only spend a few minutes a day there, but the amount of ideas and projects makes me go into project hyperdrive… except I don’t really start driving, lol – I just put everything on my “to do” list. The result is a feeling of non-accomplishment. So… I started a board on Pinterest and called it “Did it!” Kind of makes me want to fill that one up.
    Rebecca´s last post…a few things…

  36. “Do it right quick” is an awfully helpful thing I repeat to myself whenever I’m tempted to put something off.

    Also, it is illuminating to me to time myself doing various jobs every once in awhile. They almost never take as long as I imagine, which is very encouraging the next time I need to do them again.

    For bigger projects, I always try to break them down into smaller chunks, which makes it possible to do the small chunk “right quick.”
    Lori´s last post…Wise Words Wednesday: What Somebody Wishes You Knew

  37. I work full time, so I have so little time for my list of ideas. However, I think today at lunch I will pull out the list of the ones that are specifically for Christmas gifts, as it’s almost November so those are the projects that I should get done first! Come Saturday morning, after coffee and Quiet Time, I’m tackling the first set of gifts, Mod Podged clip boards!

  38. I keep an ongoing list of ideas on my cellphone, so I know I’m not missing “an inspiration.” Having things written down so I know I can go back to an idea when I need it helps me move on to action- instead of being easily lost in thinking. I have certainly been there!

  39. Yep, I have a very long list of craft projects. The Top 5 get shuffled regularly. But one project, a Spools quilt, I have had my eye on for months. Made from scraps. And this week, I started on it. Yay for me!!

    Love your blog. Always thought provoking posts.
    Donna´s last post…Scrappy Week – Day 2: Gold and Yellow

  40. I use Pinterest – but I rarely spend too much time out there.

    My issue is really that I get all these great ideas – and never do them. That wasn’t going to work for my wedding planing…lol…so I set up a system to capture those ideas.

    I use igoogle – make different pages for different topics – similar to Pinterest boards – then I add To Do List gadgets. I list each Idea I want to get back to, then I move on.

    When I have a few minutes, I head to the list to see what I can fit in and get accomplished. I love having a list of ideas of things I want to do someday, waiting at the ready.

    It helps me combat my overload :)
    Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D´s last post…31 Days To a More Organized Life: Day 23 – No, Really…Look Over There!

  41. I came by here through Carrie’s blog, Natural Mom. I just purchased your e-book Simple Blogging and already love it. I also just added your blog to my reader!

    What a treasure-trove of practical advice you have on this blog!:)How is it possible I’ve not discovered it, yet?! (Rhetorical question:)
    Michelle´s last post…I Am Convinced-Eat the Dessert First!

  42. Great post. I never really thought about it as inspiration overload, but that makes sense. Hoping to use up some of this creativity on Xmas gifts

  43. I have loved pinterest and have put many ideas to use for homeschooling and in photography! I can get sucked into pinning like everyone else, but putting a few of the ideas to use has made it valuable to me. I don’t feel pressure to do everything I pin, but I love knowing I have a pool of ideas. I love learning from someone else’s strengths!
    Kim´s last post…4 miles

  44. Nice post. Right at this moment I am making a big donation box full of my crafty intentions.
    Visty´s last post…167

  45. Yay! Thanks for kick up rear end. I’ve unsubscribed from 20+ blogs in my rss feed. Leaving yourself with a very manageable 7 others. I’m not saying I’ll never spend an hour on the computer again, but far less.

    I’ve now moved my book case to a more appropriate part of the room, done 2 loads of washing, just about to finish a clean, finishing off with a serious sorting through some filing. Then I’m free to take out my sewing machine :) Down with the internet ;)

  46. Great post. That actually sounds like fun & I completely agree..

  47. In the midst of a family crisis this summer I was challenged to fast and pray. I chose to do a technology fast and it was incredible. No TV, internet for non-work purposes or facebook. It was the best thing I could have done and it really helped me form new habits, some of which are slipping.

    Post crisis, life is very good and we’re on a quest to simplify it. That includes moving our family from the suburbs into the city to eliminate a 3 hour a day commute and have access to more services for one of children who has special needs. While life is chaotic now (so much packing!) I’m tempted to restart the fast soon! Thanks for the reminder!

  48. I love your posts, Rachel, because they are like a breath of fresh air. I love all the encouragement to simplify. Thank you! :)
    Joy @ Artful Homemaking´s last post…Mary Janes and Fall Leaves

  49. You caught me out again! Rachel, you are so good at this!

    I am definitely suffering inspiration overload, and yes, it has left me feeling flat and unaccomplished. Sigh. I hadn’t thought of my supply-buying as an accomplishment-replacement, but I think you are spot on with that as well. That gives me better incentive to stop that than the regular I-really-shouldn’t that I so casually ignore the next time inspiration strikes. And I have been busy as a bee this weekend, attacking some of that inspiration pile. Actual achievement is so much more satisfying than gathering inspiration but not acting on it. Thanks for the smart, simple reminder!

    Wishing you and your lovely family a fabulous weekend!
    Jennifer´s last post…The perfect summer shirt

  50. I read so many blogs that sometimes I forget what ‘I’ need to do. I’ve not long joined Pinterest but I like that you can spend a little time repinning things you might like rather than wade through blog after blog (don’t get me wrong, I love blogs but I spend more time reading than getting on with my own) I’m finding loads of info on your blog invaluable – so thank you – we’ve already had a huge cull in the boy’s bedroom (with his input too) and today I will make a start on my Xmas craft list :)

  51. this post remains me some thing that my dad said when i faced the real world.”Motivation and inspiration requires cultivation every single day. People that are positively involved with self-improvement activities can from time to time become overcome with the huge volume of information that should be absorbed and processed. This very real problem coupled with constant difficulties and inadequate progress can lead to frustration and feelings of hopelessness.”
    X ray tech´s last post…Career scope for medical billing and coding jobs