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What To Do When You Have A Great Idea

by Johnny Bravo · 5 comments

What To Do When You Have A Great IdeaOne of my worse fears is that I have a great idea and never get an opportunity to implement it or tell it’s story.

Before I started developing my idea generating skills I would randomly have an idea and never capture it to fruition. Not a good thing.

The thing about great ideas is that they happen when you least expect it (like this post at 12:45am the night before a 6:30am conference call). So it’s important to not only expect them, but be ready to harness them when the time comes. 

What To Do When You Have A Great Idea

The first thing I would recommend when the light bulb turns on is to write it down or otherwise catalog the idea.

I’ve created a simple spreadsheet that you can use to log ideas as they come. Simply click on the below link, download the file, and you’re all set. You can also find this spreadsheet on the Resources page for future reference.

Download now –> Great Ideas Spreadsheet

There are a few key items included on this spreadsheet that you should log when an idea hits you.

Idea – Obviously you want to write down what your idea is, or if it’s a blog post like my example then you want to write down the post title if you’ve already thought about it.

When/Where – I’ll go into this a bit more soon but you want to take note of where you were, what you were doing, and when the idea struck you.

Relates to – Is this a post idea for your professional blog? For which blog (if you have more than one)? Or is this a book idea? Maybe it’s a decorating idea for your living room.

Notes – This is where you’ll put a little more detail into your idea. Key points about it or topics you want to cover if it’s a blog post.

You’ll want to keep this spreadsheet or any note taking device (iPad, notepad, etc) close by at all times. Print it out and keep it next to your bed, near your office desk, maybe even one in your car.

Be careful writing something down while driving though, that’s dangerous.An alternative is to use your smartphone or any recording device to catalog your idea. You can later transfer it to paper if you need to.

What Triggered The Idea?

As you start to catalog and keep track of your ideas you’ll likely start seeing patterns. Especially as it relates to where and when your ideas come.

Does it happen more when you’re in the shower? In the car? Laying in bed? At night, in the morning? At your kids soccer game?

Everyone is different and ideas come to us at varying times for various reasons. If you start seeing a pattern of where and when your ideas come take note.

If you’re mindful of when they come you’ll be better prepared to capture them.

Can You Facilitate Great Ideas?

Absolutely!

Something that I do every once in a while, especially if I have writers block, is to take a note pad and sit in a quiet room.

What I am doing is dedicating a specific amount of time to just think. I don’t worry about anything else besides coming up with great ideas.

When I was trying to finalize my idea for the Sales Pro Blog this is what I did to hammer out the details. I hope you’ll agree it has worked out well so far.

What do you think, is it a good to log your ideas? Can you increase the chances of having a great idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts so be sure to comment below.

~ Johnny Bravo

Image courtesy of Poonsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Becc July 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Definitely, too many of my ideas get lost because I cannot or am too lazy to get out of bed and write them down at the time. I have been meaning to put a notepad next to the bed, but need to find a place where my son wont find the pen. Although he may have great ideas as well, it is the walls that worry me more 🙂
Great tips though. I do this in some form, but don’t have a central place that I store it all. This is much more organised and sensible 🙂

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Johnny Bravo July 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Thanks Becc, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Everyone is going to use this information differently since we all take notes differently. Some people like writing them by hand, some prefer to keep everything in a spreadsheet, and some write on their tablets. If you have a smartphone, the notes app in them works well enough until you can get to something more permanent.

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Catarina July 15, 2013 at 7:22 am

Your advice is good for people who are not used to having a lot of ideas. Just keep in mind that all ideas are not as good as they seem to be when they occur to you.

There is, in my experience, no need to devote time to think up ideas. Ideas come to you when you least expect them. Frequently when you are falling asleep, waking up, taking a walk or otherwise pleasantly occupied. The late J.P. Morgan used to get ideas when he played solitaire.

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Diana July 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm

This is cool approach – although i have a notepad on my nightstand to write interesting things that i want to further explore, i have never though of looking for patterns and actually putting myself in the situation when great ideas come to mind. Gotta try that, thanks!

But hey, i agree with Catarina – i cannot just sit and think of good ideas. They come as i least epxect them and i just don’t get you you said about “dedicating a specific amount of time to just think. I don’t worry about anything else besides coming up with great ideas.” – it doesn’t work for me. If i sit down with the single task to think and come up with great ideas, i promise you i will get stuck – and probably will end up cleaning up the house, cooking some dinner and all other kind of stuff, and very productively, too 😉

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