If you’re anything like me, you have several exciting ideas a day. Sometimes it’s an idea for a business. Sometimes it’s an idea for a new hobby. Sometimes it’s an idea for a quest or an activity that you’d like to do.
Having that many ideas floating around in your head can be quite stressful. Your mind gets full and you worry that you’ll forget all of these great ideas.
From time to time, you find yourself with a spare moment and somehow end up bored because you’ve forgotten all the things you wanted to do. Luckily, keeping a record of your ideas is pretty straightforward. Just follow the three steps below and you’ll never be short of them again.
1) Decide what to record
The ideas I have tend to fall into one of three categories: things I’d like to do, things I’d like to learn, and things I’d like to make. I like to keep these different types of ideas in three different records.
A bucket list
Almost everyone knows what a bucket list is these days; it’s a list of the things you want to do before you die. Common bucket list items include climbing the Eiffel tower, swimming with dolphins, and learning a foreign language.
If you haven’t already got one, start a bucket list to record all the different things you want to do, see, and experience in your life. Start by thinking of activities that fall into the following categories: travel, career, relationships, adventure, education, money, and body.
A would-like-to-learn list
A would-like-to-learn list is simply a list of everything you’d like to learn. Mine contains everything from paragliding to how to grow my own vegetables.
Take a moment to jot down all the things you’d love to learn. Don’t censor yourself here. You don’t actually have to learn all of these things. You’re just creating a record of everything that sounds interesting to you, so that you can look back at it the next time you have time to pick up a new skill or interest.
An ideas log
An ideas log is a record of all your ideas. They could be business ideas, cool names for bands, novel plots, the beginnings of a quest, a few lines of a poem, or any other thoughts you think might be worth keeping hold of.
You might want to organize your ideas log into sections, to make it easier to search through your brainwaves. For example, if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, architecture, and songwriting, you might wish to record your business ideas, building designs, and lyrics separately. Alternatively, you could collect all your notes in one place and use a coding system, perhaps using different colors, to organize your ideas.
2) Decide which format to use
There are lots of different methods you can use to store your notes. Pick the one that you’ll find easiest to use and stick with.
A phone or computer file or folder
You can save your ideas in a computer or mobile file, such as a Word document, or a folder of lots of files. Evernote is great for this.
If possible, choose an app or program that will work on both your computer and your phone, so that you can make notes whether you’re at home or on the go. Make sure to back up your files too, so you can’t lose them.
If you have a website or blog, you could publish your ideas on their own web page. On my site, I have separate pages for my bucket list and my would-like-to-learn list. I also have a wish list up there. Having it all in one place feels great, and other people like being able to see them too. My mum often uses them as Christmas present inspiration!
Of course, only choose this option if you’re comfortable with the whole world being able to see your ideas. Alternatively, you could keep these pages in draft form or hide them in a private access area.
If you’re more of a paper person, buy yourself a nice scrapbook or journal and turn it into a Me-Manual or a commonplace book.
Decorate it to suit your style, stick in any photos or magazine cuttings you come across, and have fun with it!
If you know you’re likely to want to save lots of bits of paper, how about storing all your ideas in a folder or box file? You could even have one for each different project, part of your life, or type of record.
If you’re going to need to keep track of bigger items, such as books and fabric samples, try using a box. Just don’t store it in the attic, because otherwise you might forget about it!
3) Start logging your ideas
Once you’ve decided what you’re recording and how you’re going to record it, start recording your ideas as and when they come to you. If you can, keep your log(s) with you at all times, so that you can capture your ideas straightaway. Phones and bits of paper are good for this.
If you can’t note down your ideas straightaway, make sure to write them down as soon as you can. We’ve all had that amazing idea that we couldn’t imagine ever forgetting, and then lost it. Don’t rely on your memory alone.
You’ll never lose your best ideas again
If you manage to log your ideas as they come to you, you’ll never have trouble remembering or finding them again. When you next find yourself in need for a change, deciding on your goals for the year, or itching to start a new project, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
You’ll also be able to relax, knowing that your ideas are safe. And with all that mental space freed up, you’ll probably come up with even more ideas!
How do you keep track of all your ideas? Share your tips in the comments below.