The Action Method by Behance 2


Great ideas are conceived and subsequently lost in the hands of creative geniuses, everyday. Frustration, rationalization, and despondence loom as creative people jump from idea, to idea, to idea… and fall short of actually making ideas happen. It is a shame that most creative breakthroughs never materialize.

via Kineda

Now this sounds like it was written for adults with Attention Deficit Disorder doesn’t it? While lost creative ideas aren’t solely the domain of adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, they probably occur more frequently with us, and cause us more grief than non ADDers

The Action method is a method of productive creativity by a company called Behance.

They say the key to their Action Method is to leave every occasion of creativity, a meeting, article read or a dream with 3 things

  1. Action Steps
  2. Back Burner Items
  3. Reference Items

and to have them clearly defined and divided, not squashed all together.

Action-Step-is-to-Reference-Item as Oil-is-to-Water
Per the Action Method, actions steps should always be kept separate from reference items. When you’re in a meeting, keep your action steps distinct from your notes on a separate part of the page, or use a different page altogether! When actions become interspersed in your reference items (notes, clippings, articles, etc…), they are unlikely to get your attention. And, without your attention, actions steps are seldom completed.

Which is so true. Like any great truth it’s obvious in hindsight, and not always easy to practice. I think this is so crucial to adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, because we’re often in the caught up in the dopamine frenzy of intellectual stimulation that we forget to do it. Or we don’t remember to take breaks and downtime and go go go until we drop and have no energy left at the end to separate and write down the action steps and say “I’ll do it later/tomorrow”, and often never set a reminder to do so and when later comes we’re on to the next distraction.

Fortunately they have a possibly solution to our frequent dilemma

Here is a modest proposal: When you are tempted to take copious notes in a meeting or cut out an article, make a separate action step to file the notes as a reference item in a particular place. Commit to filing the reference item in a predetermined spot, tagged or filed under an appropriate keyword. Otherwise, a reference item will just float around and never add value (or, even worst, serve as a distraction).

they’re got the site divided into 3 sections

Philosophy The why and the how of the action method

Articles tips and real life examples

Products and Services or Outfitter, where they have action pads, books, stickers etc

How do you separate out your action items from general ideas/notes?


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2 thoughts on “The Action Method by Behance

  • Cathy

    When I take notes at a meeting, I put big arrows next to the action items. Although they’re on the same page as other information, the arrows make them stand out. Later I skim over the notes and put the action items into appropriate systems.