In this article, I want to talk about the importance of capturing your good ideas. We all get those “lightning-strike” flashes of inspiration from time to time…great ideas about ways you can make more money in your business, teach something more effectively, help your students solve a particular problem, etc. The trouble is that those ideas will quickly vanish into thin air if you don’t grab them somehow and keep them in a place you can easily find them later.
A personal example
I’ve been an amateur songwriter since I was a kid, and I quickly figured out that my best ideas for melodies, hooks, song titles, lyric ideas, etc. would hit me when I least expected it, and then disappear after about 30 seconds. I would try to remember them later, but they never seemed as cool as they were at first. I solved that problem by carrying a notebook and a pocket tape recorder with me and tried to jot them down as soon as they came to me (I use my smart phone for this now). To this day, I have a library of hundreds of little song ideas I can pull from to write new songs and I never have to worry about forgetting a great idea ever again.
Songwriting is just a hobby for me, but if I lose a good business idea…I potentially lose a LOT of money. When I got bit by the “entrepreneur bug” later on in my life, I applied the same methods I used for my songwriting to capture all the cool business ideas that would come to me. You can do the same thing…just pick a system for capturing your good ideas and start using it.
Some things to consider
There are a few important things to consider when you design a system for grabbing your ideas:
It needs to be portable, fast and easy to use
Maybe I’m just weird, but most of my good ideas hit me when I’m either driving in the car or about to wake up in the morning. Since I only have about 30 seconds to capture those ideas, my system needed to be something I could use fast and use while driving…and something I could keep by my bedside.
It needs to be organized and secure
Capturing all those great ideas doesn’t do you any good if you can’t go back and find them later. You need to index or organize your ideas somehow so they’re at your fingertips right when you need them. It’s also VERY important to make sure your ideas are “backed up” and protected from getting lost…and that no one can access them but you.
It needs to work for YOU
The best system in the world is the one that works for you. Make sure it fits with the way you do things, because you won’t use it if it’s too inconvenient. You know yourself better than anyone else does…how you work, what your habits are…so make sure you use a system that fits you well.
My recommendation is Evernote
The best thing I’ve found for capturing all my ideas is a tool called Evernote. It’s a software application that runs on both Windows and Mac…and on your smart phone. It meets all of the criteria I mentioned above, and best of all it’s FREE (although paid upgrades are available).
I run Evernote on both my smart phone and on my Mac. I can type in my ideas, grab “clips” from websites and blog articles, record my voice, take pictures, grab video of things…it’s extremely flexible. I can use it from my phone or from my laptop…Evernote syncs everything together and let’s me run searches to quickly find what I need. It’s also accessible through the Evernote website with a secure login, so I can get access to my ideas from anywhere. I HIGHLY recommend that you try it out and see if it works for you. I really like it!
Just do it!
Pick a system and start capturing all your good ideas before they slip away forever. You’ll see a lot more success in your teaching business if you do.
When do your best ideas strike you? How do you capture them so you can act on them later? Tell me about it in the comments below!