Sometimes I sit down to brainstorm blog posts or new products or some sort of new campaign and my mind is blank…but when I’m sitting in a waiting room, I’m struck with inspiration and scrambling to capture my ideas. It may be an idea for a guest blog post to pitch or simply a way to share my next adventure with readers so I don’t want to lose any of those ideas. It is important to me to not forget them because I’m the type to dwell on knowing that I had an idea and promptly forgot what it was.
You can’t plan out when inspiration will strike, but you can plan ahead so you’re ready to capture your ideas. Today, I am going to share three easy ways for you to capture your ideas while you are away from your desk/workspace.
Yellow legal pad
As a new fan of How I Met Your Mother, I was thrilled when Ted pulled out a yellow legal pad (and backup yellow legal pad) in P.S. I Love You in order to work out a big problem. Let’s start with the science behind using a yellow legal pad: studies show that color helps us remember things – hence why many teachers encouraged us to use colored index cards to make flash cards when we were younger. Having that pad available only for notes makes it part of a ritual or habit. You’ve set aside that specific thing for notes and brainstorming…don’t add your grocery list to it, it’ll throw things off. If you have a large enough bag, carry your legal pad with you and take it out when you reach the coffee shop just in case you have an idea and keep it handy while you work at home.
Evernote and other apps are perfect for organizing your ideas. You are able to sync your accounts between devices so you can pull up that photo you took on your phone with your tablet. Evernote lets you organize voice recordings, text, and photos in handy folders so you can take a moment once a week to organize your thoughts and get things settled. By having an app that syncs, you don’t need to worry about forgetting your yellow legal pad at home – you probably have your phone or access to a computer most of the time, right? Another option? Email yourself! I do this all the time: I send myself a few emails with ideas for blog posts and open them up as I go and start drafting. I also send myself notes via email when I find articles online I want to share in an Essential Reading post. You’ll find my to do lists and deadline reminders in my inbox, as well.
Put it on your calendar
This works with paper and digital calendars, which is awesome. Say you come up with a few blog post ideas (5 ways to style a sparkly scarf, a dehydrated meal for backpacking, and a post showing off your recently decorated den) and don’t want to just write them down someplace to possibly be buried in your other amazing ideas (because your ideas are probably amazing, that’s why you have so many!). Plop those ideas onto your calendar ASAP. Use a pencil for your paper calendar if you’re like me and have issues committing to a finalized editorial calendar, or throw your ideas into your digital calendar and make it easy to move things around. Another tip: after you create the event in your digital calendar, add some notes to it! I like to outline some blog posts right away so I don’t forget where I was going with something (like 5 ways to live a more balanced life).
How do you capture inspiration when it strikes?
What do you do with your ideas once you’re able to sit down and evaluate things?