Sometimes I want to put a stopper on my brain. I’ve got so many ideas about so many things. And sadly, many days all those great ideas just slip right out my ears and into the air … never to be remembered again.
I amaze myself at what I can forget.
One day I had a fabulous idea for a Proverbs 31 devotion. It was so brilliant I was sure I wouldn’t forget it. And so, confident in my great idea’s power to hold firm, I went about my business that morning. Later that day, something tickled at my mind. Hadn’t I had a good idea for something? … hmmm … what was it?
Try as I might, I NEVER remembered that idea. The question nagged at me for days. I knew that idea was something I should have remembered, and an opportunity slipped away to capture it. One might say God would give me that idea if it was something He wanted. And that is possible – He’s done it many times. However, based on my history of forgetting numerous good things, I think this is an area God needs me to actively address.
I’ve discovered ideas don’t always come at the most convenient time. In fact, they seldom arrive when I’m sitting at my desk with a pen and to-do list. Telling myself to be creative works as well as telling myself not to eat that delicious red velvet cupcake my son’s girlfriend made. (I had two)
My most creative thoughts come when I am doing something unrelated to whatever the idea concerns. Here’s where I get my best ideas: Driving, showering, doing laundry, reading in bed at night, reading the Bible at any time, and hanging out with friends and family.
So, I’ve been on a quest for years to discover ways to capture ideas and then manage them until I can do something about them. Here are some tips for capturing and managing.
While I’m out:
I keep a notepad in my purse
I call my home number and leave a message.
Text or email myself.
Travel with a micro voice recorder. Great while driving.
However, the best tool while out has been the iPhone I bought last year with Siri – the voice activated command center. I use this every day. I set reminders for myself for when I know I’ll be home and write notes in the notes section. It’s been a fabulous tool and well worth the investment. (Note: I didn’t buy at full price – and I know this is expensive. But I’m looking at it as an investment in myself and God’s work.)
While I’m home:
I’m still mainly a pen and paper girl at home. So I have lots of notepads in different places.
However, since my computer is an extension of my hands most days, I’m also learning new ways to capture ideas here until I can manage them. Personally I’m on Outlook most of the day, so I use the notes and tasks options to write things down.
Also, I am using Evernote more. This is a free service for capturing and managing ideas. I’ve yet to master this, but I’m using it in increasing measure and will continue to learn more. Michael Hyatt recommends Evernote. If you’ve never read Michael Hyatt’s blog you might enjoy starting with this post. Click here.
Capturing ideas in a “safe” place is critical. Here are three ideas:
1. Use your project management notebook. I have pages in my planner for ideas I want to remember. Mine include: ideas for books I’m working on, devotion ideas with Scripture, and blog post ideas.
2. Create an idea folder in Word. Within that folder, create subfolders for ideas. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
a. Restaurant to try
b. Recipes to try
c. Food gifts to make
a. Vacation spots
b. Camping spots
c. Activities with the family
a. Friends to invite for dinner
b. Birthday gift ideas
c. Prayer requests
This is just a sample of one way to manage ideas. You’ll need to determine what works best for you. I’ve found that keeping fewer main folders and more sub-folders helps me keep track of things better.
3. Use something like Evernote to manage your ideas in the same sub-folder manner.
I KNOW there are fabulous programs out there to manage tasks and ideas. I’ve looked at lots of them. One example is Remember The Milk.
Let’s continue this discussion. How do you manage ideas? Do you use an online program? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Grace & Peace,