I am probably not the only person who has experienced the frustration of forgetting what I thought was a big, brilliant idea. Of course, I never know if the forgotten idea was brilliant or a bust…because I can’t remember what it was in the first place!
We may laugh over our forgetfulness, but nothing is more frustrating than realizing–in a moment of urgency–that you have forgotten your great idea for an illustration, blog post, new business opportunity, non-profit initiative, etc.
This has happened to me countless times, but lately I’ve decided to tackle this problem. I’ve been taking a more focused approach by implementing three simple habits that I learned through reading Ken Davis’ fabulous book, Secrets of Dynamic Communications.
Habit 1: Always write your ideas down.
One of my most common mistakes is simply relying on my brain to remember ideas because I didn’t write them down. I love what Ken Davis says about this mistake: “A mental note is no note at all.”
Chances are, my big idea’s mental note will be replaced by another idea’s mental note before the end of the day. Writing down these ideas will cement them in a physical, permanent location!
Habit 2: Always have a way to record your ideas.
Make your friends your “idea sounding boards”. Put a marker board in the shower. Place a pad of paper by your bed or install a voice recorder app on your phone’s home screen. These are just some of the ways you can capture your ideas!
However, make sure that whatever notes you take, they are detailed enough to jog your memory again. In his book, Davis tells a story about what happened to him when he didn’t write detailed notes. I think many of us can relate to it!
“Some of the best ideas come to me just before I go to sleep. You should always keep some means of recording your thoughts right by your bed. Believe it or not, a pad and pencil work best for this. I used to keep a small recorder by my bed until one night in the dark I dictated a wonderful illustration into the remote control for the television.
One night I awoke from a dream that left me in a cold sweat. I knew the dream would make an excellent illustration, so I reached for my pad and pencil. In the dark, I wrote my most prominent memory of the dream and fell back to sleep. As soon as I awoke I quickly reached for the pad. Scrawled across the center of the pad was the word ‘chicken.’ To this day I have no idea what the dream was about or what a chicken had to do with it.”
Write your ideas down–and be detailed!
Habit 3: Always review your ideas.
An idea written down is useless until it is put into practice.
I have notebooks in my home office that are filled with random ideas that seemed incredibly inspirational in their moment of conception. Have I reviewed these documented ideas? No. Have I missed out on new opportunities and adventures? Absolutely, because I forgot to review them.
Make a habit of reviewing your notes, journals, and jottings. Make a personal appointment on your calendar, pour yourself a cup of coffee and review what captivated your mind a few days or weeks before.
You’ll often be surprised by what you find while reviewing old ideas. I have written countless blog posts based on ideas that I didn’t thoroughly explore at the time, but documented for later review.
So, start keeping up with your ideas! These three simple habits can help make sure that your next brilliant idea goes from being simply an idea into an incredible reality.
Aaress Lawless has ten years of experience working in the field of PR, and has been cited by many leading outlets including Microsoft, The New York Times, and CNET. Aaress is dedicated to helping you put God first in your business and will work with you to craft a public relations or web design approach best suited to your unique needs.
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