If someone handed you a $50 note, you wouldn’t say ‘Sorry, I’m too busy to put that note in my wallet.’
Yet ideas are the currency of authors and thought leaders and too often we ignore them. As an author, ideas are your currency. So, put them in your wallet.
Here are three ways, and a tip to make the most of them:
- The ol’ notebook trick with a cool new twist
Notebooks are the quickest and easiest way to capture ideas on the run, but some year ago, I discovered a world-beating tip to make your notebooks 100 times more useful: an index (thanks to www.bulletjournal.com). You must buy a notebook with numbered pages, which are rare. I buy Clairefontaine. It takes a little discipline, but we are talking about looking after our stash of gold, right?
- Serves-you-right shoebox method
If you left your notebook behind, you are going to have to write down your idea on a serviette or the back of an envelope. Serves you right. Carry your notebook everywhere. However, better to capture an idea on a rubbishy scrap than not to capture it at all. Have a shoebox or cake tin at home and chuck all your little scraps of paper. Then, when you come to write, rifle through.
- Memory joggers for emergencies
What if you have a brilliant idea right before you step on stage to deliver your keynote, or just after your child falls off their bike? Make the briefest of notes of the idea to jog your memory later. Smells, and highly emotional moments tend to stick in our minds, and we can use them to jog our memories. It might not work, but it’s better than standing scribbling in your notebook while your kid is in tears. As soon as you can, go back and flesh it out.
Tip: put flesh on the bones of your ideas
Gold isn’t so attractive a metal until it is fired and forged and purified. Do the same with your ideas. One of the easiest mistakes to make when noting down ideas is not to flesh them out enough. ‘Receipts in the shoebox metaphor’ was the note I made to remember the idea for this blog. That might be enough for you to remember, but it might not. A simple way to flesh out an idea is to note underneath three points you would like to make about it.