Remember, a few weeks back when I shared 5 easy methods to capture your big ideas and mentioned the pesky, small ideas that need to be captured too?
As your big idea takes shape, 101 more ideas will begin to inspire you. As they emerge, you’ll need different methods that’ll help you organize these ideas so that they won’t escape you either.
Found ideas on the web that inspire you? Use these methods to order the ideas so you can easily refer to them in the future.
- Create swipe files using Microsoft OneNote to capture and catalog electronic inspiration. They’re so many ways to use this app. I especially like to insert links to online content I find and save screen captures.
- Use a low-tech version of a swipe file such as a file folder, scrapbook, or shadow box to organize hard copies of magazine articles, pictures, artifacts, mementos, etc.
- Email yourself a link to a website is a cool way to keep track of a resource you find on the web. Make sure to include the name of the resource in the subject line as a reminder of what it is.
- Organize your inbox. My Gmail inbox contains no shortage of messages with great ideas. If I don’t have time to read a message, I’ll apply Gmail labels to them so that I can find them later. Gmail help explains how to set up labels.
Feel like your ideas are all over the place? Grab a pen and paper for these methods.
- Do a focused free write and write down your ideas without stopping for about 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t stop to think about grammar or punctuation but concentrate on getting everything out of your head. Once you’re done, go through what you’ve written and highlight what stands out the most. Look for patterns or categories. Use what you find to help you take action – write that blog post, plan that women’s retreat, apply for your business license, etc.
- Start chunking your ideas. Chunking is a technique that I use in my work as an instructional designer. It’s a method for grouping information so that it’s more manageable and easier to remember. You can create a mind map to chunk information too.
Need to save time capturing ideas? Use templates and technology.
- Instead of using a generic notebook to capture your ideas, create a template every time you need to detail ideas of a repetititive process. Not only will you save time, but your ideas will also be organized. Shalene, my writing buddy, created a template for writing her blog posts. She told me that this bite-sized approach to capturing ideas gave her freedom, relief, and more wiggle room in her schedule.
- Use the voice recording feature on your phone or tablet to record your ideas. I use my iPad to record blog post ideas onto a Google doc which converts my speech to text. When I’m ready to write, it’s already started.
Have ideas that are similar to tasks? Use a method to achieve your priorities (or what I call M.A.P).
Instead of simple planning, these ideas require time and space for precision. Instead of the breadth of the big picture, these ideas may go a mile deep. I’ve been using a bullet journal and sticky note calendar as my methods to record specific ideas so that I achieve my priorities.
- Use a sticky note calendar to lay out deadlines for blog posts, events, campaigns, and other projects. I was introduced to this process by the Laptop Lifestyle Blogger. So far it seems to work. I’ve already plotted the first 4 months of ideas I’d like to accomplish in 2017. The cool thing about this method is because I’m writing the items on sticky notes, I can move stuff around if I need to.
- Use a planner that allows you to capture your vision, goals, tasks, and notes all in one place. My bullet journal functions as a diary and planner. I’ve mastered monthly and weekly planning. At the beginning of each month, I note goals that I want to accomplish based on ideas that I’ve had. From there, I create weekly plans to convert my ideas into tasks, keeping in perspective what I think I can accomplish in that week. Visually reflecting in simple drawings or words either weekly or monthly about what I’ve accomplished or experienced has become one of my favorite activities. I call it doodling with a purpose. Not only do I satisfy my urge to be creative, but I’m also using it as a way to remain self-aware and open to possibilities.
If you haven’t given much thought to how you go about capturing the small ideas, you should.
When you find a way to bring order to your ideas, you’ll save time and energy for what matters most.
Making your ideas blossom.
So what is your take on these 8 easy methods? Which one will you apply? Do you use other methods to help you? I’d like to know. Email me for a personal exchange and comment below or on Facebook.