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How To Remember and Use Your Ideas

When is the last time you had a really great idea and a few minutes later it disappears from your memory? For many people this is a regular occurrence.  Our mind is bombarded with thousands of sights and sounds on a daily basis.  To remember a quick idea can be a daunting task.  The shame of the matter is that it’s the small things that can make a big difference.

Back to Basics
Start by finding a pen and a small notepad. Make sure both are compact enough to carry along with you on a daily basis.  Moving forward, keep a pen and notepad with you at all times. When you have an idea, write it down in the notepad.  Don’t discriminate.  Too many people discount their own ideas for a number of reasons. Every idea no matter how insignificant could potentially lead to something great.

One of the world’s most creative individuals kept extensive handwritten notes. Over 3,500 notebooks were discovered after Thomas Edison’s death in 1931.  They contained a litany of ideas, sketches, and notes.  Edison used his notebooks continually to cross reference ideas.  Anyone can integrate parts of Edison’s methodology with pen and paper.   

Michael Michalko, who wrote Cracking Creativity, offers some Edisonian ideas for organizing written notes:

  • Write all your ideas down from your daily experiences.  This can include ideas from meetings, information that you’ve gained through reading, and your own brainstorming.
  • Organize your notes thematically into a set group of categories and subjects: e.g. SEO, Usability, Web Design, etc. In order to satiate all the techno savvy you can transfer your notes on the computer.
  • After you’ve established a series of notes go back to glean additional insight to problems you may encounter.

You might be able to solve your problems by modifying or reinterpreting something you previously experienced.  Plus, when you have you ideas written down you don’t need to take the time to remember what you forgot.

In today's world of techno-overdrive, a pen and .99 cent spiral notebook are amazingly powerful. I would argue that strong habits and systems (regularly writing in a journal) can trump technlogy.

Source: Cracking Creativity, Michael Michalko. pp. 106-107.

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Eugene Loj

Thanks, Vinny!

- Eugene

Vinny Valentino

Great writeup !!

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