Sometimes, I’m minding my own business doing something – walking, cleaning, taking a shower, or pretty much any other task where the brain is free to roam – and a big idea hits me. I’ll get all excited, get distracted, and forget about it. If I don’t forget about it, I might not act on it. With that in mind, I made a few quick steps to help myself through to action.
- Record the idea as quickly as possible – There are a few ways to do this. Any of them are valid. Just pick one that works for you. Make sure to make notes that are detailed enough that your future self knows what your current self is thinking.
- Paper – Keep a small notebook for you, like a Field Notes or Moleskine pocket notebook and a pen. At one point, my wife had a waterproof notepad by Aqua Notes and a pencil in the shower for just such an occasion.
- Note-taking app – As discussed previously, I use Mem for my notes and it’s nearly perfect for this. The note-taking area is available at the top of the app when it opens and a new one is ready for quick entry.
- Audio notes – If you have a smartwatch or phone, there is likely an option for voice note dictation. On iPhones and Apple Watches, the app is called Voice Memos.
- Process and plan – Any good GTD plan has an inbox processing routine and this one is no different. Getting these out of the inbox chosen above and into a to-do list makes sure it has time to be thought about. Sometimes, those ideas need more time to be fleshed out, so scheduling that in my calendar is a priority. If it’s ready for work, then it goes into my calendar or appropriate to-do list. If I decide it isn’t worth investing more time, I usually stop here.
- Act – My experience is that acting on an idea sooner rather than later is helpful. The farther away I get from an idea, the less likely I am to act on it. Start to act on it as soon as is feasible for maximum results.
It can be difficult to get into the habit of recording ideas, but it’s the most important step in my opinion. Don’t let your next big idea slip away!