Discover 7 Ways to Capture and Keep Great Ideas

This is a continuation from the previous post, “3 Steps to Making Your Dreams a Reality.” If you didn’t read it yet, please head back and take a look. Otherwise, we’re off to the races.

1. Write It Down

Do you have a dream? Write it down. Make sure it’s on paper (or on some kind of note taking app). There are probably hundreds of products out there to help us write our ideas down. The very app (Evernote) I am writing this post on now is designed to capture your ideas and thoughts on the fly. Whether on my phone, tablet, or laptop I have a note accessible to me to jot down my ideas. I have very dangerously (kids, don’t try this at home), pulled out my phone while driving in order to audibly capture an idea. However you do it (hopefully not dangerously), capturing that idea, writing it down, recording it or even taking a picture of the thing that sparked the idea is very important. Don’t let it escape.

2. Don’t Go to Sleep

For some reason, many great ideas come to me before bed. Because it’s such an amazing idea, I use to think that there was no way I’d forget this wonderful thought. Then in the morning I get up and remember I had a great idea but have no clue of what the idea was. The details of the idea just pick up and leave.

3. Pen & Paper

For some reason, whenever I am writing a song, using pen and paper always seems to help get things flowing. I’ve known writers to actually pull over to the side of the road to physically write down the ideas tumbling around in their heads. Physical writing, in itself, can be a source of inspiration. If you haven’t given it a try in a while, give it a go and see how well it works for you. I heard someone say something of this sort:

4. WARNING: Don’t Starve the Muse!

If you refuse to pay attention to the inspiration flowing into you, you will not only lose the idea, but future inspirations will certainly go without warning. It’s almost as if you’re training your subconscious to not listen to creativity. We need creativity in all the areas of our lives. Our imagination is one of the most powerful tools and ally we have and ignoring it is not a good thing. Even if the idea is rubbish, don’t ignore it. Some of my greatest productions arrived from rubbish ideas being worked until it becomes something useful. A diamond in the rough is a stone like many others, but once shaved, sanded, and shined, its true worth comes forth.

5. Focus

Just as in the previous post, one of the benefits of writing down your dream, your vision, and/or goals is adding greater focus. Focus cannot be overstated here. I read somewhere something of this sort:
Be the river and not a flood
Writing down that dream, idea, or thought helps you to chart the path of your stream. A stream becomes refreshment to the animals, villages, and people around. Do you realize that dams, which provide power for thousands, are powered by rivers? Rivers are pathways which lead you to something. On the other hand, a flood brings destruction in its path. It is not the result of planning, it is not the result of a natural flow. Floods are often the result of natural disasters which only destroy. Hence, it important to focus and write those thoughts down, become that stream or river and flow with purpose; not the unplanned random destruction of a flood.

6. Sort It Out

One little tip I picked up from Michael Hyatt is to sort through those ideas. In my Evernote, I currently have a Ideas notebook. That notebook is full of small sparks that come in like lightning across my brain. Many times at the moment I’m super excited about them and think they are great. But give it a week, go back, and read over those ideas. You’ll realize sometimes that they are not as good as you originally thought.
There are other times I will go back and read the idea over and am floored that I even came up with such a masterpiece. But if I didn’t write it down and simply forgot about it, then I might have never retained that idea.

7. Look at it

There is no sense in writing it down if you don’t actually go back and look at the idea. Set aside a time when you go back and look at the ideas that you’ve gathered. It’s exciting to come up with new ideas, but don’t get hooked on the thrill move beyond it. Weeding through them can be more like a patient treasure hunt.
I really thought this was gonna be short, but please bear with me…
Do you ever think why so many apps have these dang notifications? Those things that drain the life out of your battery and shorten that claimed 20 hours battery to a mere 1.5 hours. Notifications get you coming back to that app for more. Look at your most used apps and see if the reason you use them is not related to the notifications. We have to treat our ideas and those thoughts like notifications. Once you get that prime idea figured out, put it somewhere you can see it. Put it out in the open. Put it on a sticky note on your computer screen. Edit your computer/tablet/phone wallpaper so you see it where ever you go. Keep coming back to it. Revisit it over and over again.
I’ll stop right here. But these thoughts should certainly get you going for the next blog in the Start Something series!

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