We all get ideas from time to time, those “Eureka!” moments where you think, “what a great idea!” Some of you get them only once in a while, while others may get them many times each day.
What matters is preserving these ideas and putting them to use.
What if Gary Dahl, who came up with the idea of the pet rock while in a bar, had dismissed the idea as nonsensical, instead of developing it into a multi-million dollar product?
But not everything is about making money from an idea. There's a sense of satisfaction from developing an idea into a product or problem-solving technique. There's the joy of discovery and creation, bringing out the best in ourselves, reaching for that brass ring when we ride the carousel.
How can you record and develop your great ideas so they don't fade away like morning dreams?
You can record your great ideas on a Post-it, a cocktail napkin, a note in Evernote or OneNote, a mind map or whiteboard. What matters is to preserve the ideas, refer to them frequently, and see how you can develop them, so they're not just vapor trails in your mind.
I found the best way to do this is using a dedicated note-taking app like Evernote or OneNote. Brandon, a professional writer, dictates an Evernote note on his smartphone before the thought gets away. He adds a “great idea” tag and puts a checkbox at the top of the note.
Every few days, Brandon goes through his great idea notes and works on the unchecked ones. He links them to notes he has already set up. These notes relate to projects he is working on or would like to work on. Sometimes there's no project to assign the note to, so they get linked to the “My Great Ideas Master Note” at the top of this post.
Get the “Great Ideas Master Note”
You can get this “Great Ideas Master Note” as a word processing table and paste it into Evernote, OneNote, or any other system you use that has a rich text editor. If you get in the habit of reviewing your master note and re-inspiring yourself, your great idea can take flight. No matter how silly the idea may seem when you write it down, it is the source of more new ideas and new hopes. Remember the pet rock: The idea needed nurturing and development, but it all started with an idea while drinking with friends in a bar.
To get the “Great Ideas Master Note” and other tables you can use to organize your life, click here.
For more about The Master Note System, go to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).