How many times have you thought ofÂ a great idea but were unable to recall the details when you were ready to act on it? Let’s face it, great ideas can come to us at odd times: while we’re driving, in the shower, or lying in bed. If we don’t take the time to note them right away, there’s a good chance we’ll forget them. In today’s tip, I’ll talk about a couple ways you can avoid this situation.
The most basic thing you can do is carry a small pad of paper and a pen with you. I recommend something small enough that fits in your pocket, so you’ll have it with you at all times. If you have a hard time finding small pads of paper, you can always make them by cutting up standard 8 by 10 paper and stapeling it together or you could use a pad of Post-It notes.
The benefit ofÂ a pad of paper is it allows you to descreetly record your thoughts in most situations (waiting rooms, rest rooms, bedside, etc…). Unfortunately, this method isn’t ideal for driving as you’ll either have to pull over or wait until you hit a red light to record your thoughts. Also, if you write music and you’ve thought of a catchy tune, writing it down on paper paper won’t cut it.
Many people now useÂ small digital recorders. These inexpensive devices are often smaller than a cell phone, have a button to stop & start recording, and can record hours of audio. I used to use one that intergrated with my speech recoginiton software and email client. I’d dictate the email message, plug it into my PC, run the program, and it would send the email.
The drawback to these devices is that you have to speak into them, so others around you can hear what you’re saying (which may or may not be a problem). Plus, you need to take the time to upload the recording to your PC, listen to it, and you may need to make notes to take an action or elaborate on the idea.
So what do you do? I use a combination. I carry a small stack of Post-It notes in my pocket. This has the added benefit of me being able to stick the notes where I need them. So if I have an ideas related to my business go on my PC’s monitor,Â reminders to watchÂ TV shows go onÂ the TV, and reminders to make phone calls go on the phone.
When I’m in the car and I get a great idea, I use my cell phone to call my voice mail. I stopped carrying the digital recorder because it’s another thing to have to remember and carry in my pocket. I know that some cell phones and PDAs have this capability built-in, so I may look at them in the future. But this system works for me, and that’s what’s most important.
Try experimenting with different methods and learn what works best for you. It doesn’t matter how you record your ideas, it just matters that you record them and have access to them when you need them.