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A Bulletproof Way To Never Again Forget a Million Dollar Idea

A Bulletproof Way To Never Again Forget a Million Dollar Idea

Have you ever thought about how many million dollar ideas you have forgotten?!

I’m absolutely sure that at least a couple of times in your life you’ve had a brilliant idea but somehow it slipped your mind. You were on the crowded bus and you simply couldn’t write it down. Or maybe you were walking down the street but your mobile went flat or you didn’t have a pen.

And then a few months later you hear news on TV that some guy used YOUR idea and became a millionaire. We all know the feeling. I bet you can feel the surge of frustration this very moment!

So why did it happen?

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DISADVANTAGES OF TYPICAL NOTE-TAKING

  • It’s not always possible to write something down due to conditions and the nature of “eureka” moments. Usually the best ideas strike us in the conditions which make typical note taking impossible: under shower, while running, right before you fall asleep. No wonder. Usually that’s the moment when your brain is relaxed and produces alpha brain waves (Niedermeyer E.(1997). Alpha rhythms as physiological and abnormal phenomena).
  • You might not have proper tools to help you capture your ideas (e.g. pen, mobile phone, etc.)
  • It might be weird. Another fairly typical situation in which new ideas are created is when you have a conversation with somebody and then, out of nowhere, your beautiful brains crash to produce some inspiring idea. The problem is that you don’t always know some person well enough to put a conversation on hold in order to write your ideas down.

The point being – technology is great but it won’t always be there to save the day.Most of us are afraid of being dependent on other people. But do you really think that being dependent on a battery or a pen is more noble? (Sure, they won’t judge you but that’s about the only difference). Who will keep data for you when we run out of trees?!

So what can you do to prevent it from happening?

USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO PLAN IN YOUR MIND!

To make sure that you never ever forget another brilliant idea, you have to use the power of your imagination. So what’s the secret?

Mnemonics!

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One of the methods with proven record of effectiveness is the method of loci (Bellezza, F. S., 1996, Mnemonic methods to enhance storage and retrieval). This technique, as fancy as it sounds, was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The general idea behind this method is to create associations between the elements which are well-known to you and new pieces of information (ideas in our case).

To do this, we should:

  1. choose the layout of some building / flat / house which we are familiar with.
  2. select some distinctive loci within the place of our choice
  3. specify key words characterizing your idea
  4. create some vivid, abstract (or just plain absurd) associations between the loci and key words.
  5. finally, take a mental walk, once you’re home, to retrieve the precious idea

Let’s go through an example to show how straightforward and bulletproof this method is.

EXAMPLE

It’s a safe bet that you know exactly how your flat / house looks like and probably at least a few places of your friends, and family members. And that gives us a lot of potential places you can use.

I’ll use my own room as an example (distinctive loci) as I seem to spend there unhealthy amount of time. Let’s say that I have an idea to create a comic book about a dysfunctional super hero, called the Incredible Incompetento. His only super-power is being able to ruin every company’s project.

Through my mind’s eye I see him as a clumsy, white-collar worker with glasses (key word). Next, I’ll picture him entering my room and spilling a cup of coffee all over my sketches (association) and burning my hands in the process

 

Forget about forgetting and embrace your regret-free life. Never again will your brilliant ideas sink into oblivion! And if it ever happens that you become a millionaire, don’t forget to drop me a thank you message.

Has it ever happened to you that you’ve forgotten some important idea? Let me know in the comments!

Featured photo credit: soultga via rgbstock.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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