We all have epiphanies from time to time, don’t we?
A brilliant flash of inspiration that glows bright with the potential to change the world! (Or at least your life in a deep, significant and meaningful way)
But then what happened? Did you work to manifest your dream and give life to your epiphany?
Million dollar ideas are easy to have. We excel at the art of out of the box thinking. But 1) Remembering them and 2) Working on them with dedication are a different kettle of fish!
Why Can’t I Remember My Million Dollar Idea?
Unfortunately, our mind is miserable when it comes to remembering things. We tend to think of the brain as a neatly organized folder with labelled compartments. A set-up that should allow us to reach right in and retrieve what is important to us at the right time.
Far from the truth!
In reality the brain is more like a jumbled warehouse. One with dark corners, cracked floors and a magic box in the center that adds to the chaos of thoughts, ideas and opinions at will! In short not a great place to ‘hold’ your ‘stuff’!
The mind collects all the time. Sometimes nuggets of wisdom and sometimes junk! Since we are able to perceive the identity of only a couple of ideas at a time, we make the mistake of thinking we can get by with ‘everything in our head’. As soon as the number of thoughts crosses 3, the previous entries are auto deleted. And there goes your million dollar idea capable of changing your life.
The Answer is to Collect, But in a Reliable External System
GTD® talks about a 5 step process to get back in control of your life and commitments. And the very first thing to do is to make a habit of comprehensively collecting anything and everything that has your attention, in a reliable external system for eventual processing.
Since what you choose to use is:
- Reliable – You can rest assured that your important thoughts and to-dos and the details around them are not ‘lost’ in the shuffle of life and you regularly review them to stay on track with their execution.
- External – You save your own brain from the burden of preserving the little things so that it can focus on the big picture and do what it does best – fine tune and plan.
There are myriad choices – both digital and physical available to you if you wish to start collecting your thoughts, ideas and to-dos. The resource you finalize doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. It must be reliable and easy to carry around with you because you never know when inspiration may strike.
Good Old Pen and Paper –
If you do not take too kindly to tech heavy applications, you can use a small notepad and a pen to do things the traditional way. Many authors and writers claim that the act of physically jotting down inspiration somehow cements an idea or a concept. See for yourself! Just make sure that you have a number of notebooks in stock and take time to organize the epiphanies when you undertake your weekly review.
Evernote deserves place of pride on any such list because of its intuitive interface, its concept of designated Notebooks for different topics, its ability to sync saved items across all available devices and the flexibility it offers in terms of multimedia content curation. You can not only start a conventional text note to jot down an idea, you can complement it with a voice recording to capture the details and throw in a couple of images as well to allow the complete documentation of inspiration. It doesn’t get easier than this! It is compatible with both Windows and Mac and the apps function smoothly on Android, Windows or iOS phone platforms.
The Ever-green Collection Tray (In-Tray) –
While pen and paper and Evernote are competent collection tools where ideas, thoughts and inspiration are concerned, nothing trumps the collection tray or in-tray for physical items of import like receipts, mail, bank statements and reports. It is essential that you ‘capture’ and ‘process’ these as well since they may impact your planning, your schedule and thus your overall productivity. Have at least two trays around – one for office work and the other for miscellaneous personal stuff. In fact, gift them to your significant others as well . They will thank you for the thoughtfulness.
We can literally go on and on. It all boils down to what you are comfortable with and can carry around regularly without hassles. Where the habit of ‘Collecting’ is concerned, consistency makes a champion.
Your Take on Collecting Ideas:
Think an external, reliable system will help you better remember your million dollar ideas? Do you know someone who practices collection with diligence?
Reflect on what you have learnt here and start to implement it in your life. The changes you see will be miraculous.
- Choose the physical/digital external system you will use as a repository to hold your ideas and inspirations.
- Start a habit of taking down all the thoughts you feel are important or worth investigating in greater detail later on.
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