Advertising
Advertising

10 Ways To Organize Your Thoughts and Never Lose Ideas Again

10 Ways To Organize Your Thoughts and Never Lose Ideas Again

Have you ever experienced a burst of inspiration so brilliant that you couldn’t resist proclaiming, “Eureka!” ? These light-bulb moments are an amazing thing to experience, but they are a moot point if you forget about your idea before you have the chance to act on it. Keep reading to check out ten ways to organize your thoughts and never lose ideas again.

1. Keep a notebook in your car

If you have a pen and paper in your car at all times, you’ll be able to make a mad dash to your vehicle to write down your thoughts before they vanish no matter where you are.

2. Type a text

On-the-go and hit with a flourish of an idea? Grab your phone and send a quick message to yourself of the key points just in case you need to jog your memory later.

Advertising

3. Call a friend

Surely you have a friend who you tell everything to, right? Let’s say you’re driving your car, a situation where texting and writing obviously aren’t smart things to do. I would encourage to keep your call short so you can focus on the road, but dial up your friend and exclaim, “you’ll never believe the amazing thing I just thought of!” Tell them all about it, ask for their input just in case they have any ideas that would make it even better. Saying your idea out loud will make it much less likely you will forget, and you can always call your friend later if you need a reminder.

4. Address an email to yourself

If you’re at the office and have a cluttered desk where an idea on paper would quickly get lost in the shuffle, you could send an email to your personal account so you’ll have access to your idea as soon as you get home.

5. Keep a pen and paper on your bedside table

Have you ever woke up in a daze with a vivid memory of a fascinating dream that vanished within one minute of your feet hitting the ground? Avoid forgetting your dreams by writing them down as soon as you stir awake. Since dreams tend to speak about who we are on a deep level, you can use them to fine inspiration for ideas in the real world.

Advertising

6. Compile your ideas in one place

The first five points will help you grab a fleeting idea before it runs away, but if you’re a busy person who has a lot of stuff to do, you’ll need to take a moment to compile all of your ideas in a single place. No matter which methods you use–text, email, notebook, recording, or whatever the case may be– open a spreadsheet or document to compile your ideas in a single location.

7. Organize your ideas by topic

Now that your ideas are compiled, let’s organize them in a way that makes sense. Our brains are full of thoughts about a limitless variety of things, so let’s filter them by topic so you don’t get overwhelmed. You could use categories such as Things to Write About, Books to Read, Places to Visit, etc.

8. Cut the losers

Not all ideas are created equally. While something might have sounded like a great idea at the time, it could look silly in retrospect. Go ahead and delete the losers so you will be more likely to act on the winners.

Advertising

9. Make them actionable

The best idea in the world is of no use if you don’t take action to make it reality. Look at your list of ideas and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I make this relevant to my daily life?
  • Which ideas would be most beneficial for me to act on today?
  • Is there a common theme emerging here? If so, how could I combine these ideas together to make them more powerful?

If you have a hard time getting yourself to take action, click here to check out practical ways to stop procrastination.

10. Boost your health

A healthy and well-rested body is more capable of retaining information than an unhealthy and exhausted one. Make sure you exercise at least three days a week, eat your fruits and veggies and get a good night of sleep.

Advertising

What do you think?

Have you ever had a glorious flash of inspiration that escaped before you could do anything about it? Isn’t that the most frustrating thing in the world? It happens to the best of us but if you put these ten steps into action you will never lose ideas again.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

7 Harsh Truths That Will Improve Your Life 20 Timeless Tips to Make the Most Out of Life 5 Psychological Reasons You Are Addicted to Facebook and 5 Ways to Break the Habit How To Ask A Girl Out And Get A Yes (Almost) Every Time 9 Surprising Benefits of Being Single

Trending in Productivity

1How to Fight Information Overload 2How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People 3How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now 435 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life 5How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

Advertising

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

Advertising

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

Advertising

If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Advertising

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Read Next