Capturing Your Ideas by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In General
Aug 19th, 2013

Woman with idea.At any given moment, ideas will come to you. Some of these ideas are major, some are minor, but when you don’t capture the ideas, they whirl around in your head, diverting your attention away from the other work or pleasure on which you need to be focusing. The following are possible bins, buckets, boxes, and baskets (and how to use them) so that you capture your ideas for later processing.

  1. Your physical inbox. Write down the idea and drop it into your inbox.

  2. Your planner. Write down the idea in a designated spot in your planner.

  3. Your voice mail. Call yourself and leave a message. This is especially convenient for things you need to bring to work the next day if you leave a message on your home voice mail. If you need to remember to bring something home from work, then call and leave a message on your work voice mail.

  4. Your cell phone voice mail. Call yourself and leave a message.

  5. Voice recorder/digital recorder. Keep one handy so you can record even if your cell phone isn’t working because you’re “out of range.”

  6. Send yourself email. If an idea pops into your head when you are working at the computer, just send an email to yourself with the idea.

  7. Pieces of paper. These will later be dropped into your physical inbox for processing.

  8. A pad you love to write on. Keep it handy and delight in jotting down thoughts and ideas as they come to you.

  9. Post-it® notes. Later you will stick each post-it® to a piece of paper for processing through your physical in-box.

  10. Productivity assistant. If you have a person who is there for you, then tell him or her your idea and task that person with capturing your ideas and getting them into your system. Here’s a great example of this method from Dr. Elisa H. Barney Smith:

    “I often tell my PhD students to help me remember something if I’m not in a position to act or write it down immediately. I tell them they are my external memory/storage device. Context: I’m an Electrical/Computer Engineer/Computer Scientist. An external memory/storage device = a technical name for a flash/thumb drive and historically disk drive disks. People find this amusing when they first hear it.”

Please note: choose a *few* of these rather than *all* of these….and make sure that you systematically clear out the bins where you’ve captured your ideas.

Are you safe? Do you have time, energy, and attention thieves lurking around you – ready to rob you of your most precious resources?

If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to banish those burglars once and for all, you will love this practical and specific Get a Plan! Guide® to Thwarting the Thieves of Your Time, Energy, & Attention. If you like reading and having a document to refer to, you may purchase and download this 47-page, full-color Get a Plan! Guide®. You’ll be glad you did!