We’ve all had that moment. You’re driving down the road and a great idea strikes you. It could be an new business idea, an invention, a new type of app, an art display, or just a new paint color for your kitchen. Whatever it is, it’s the solution to that problem that has been haunting you for weeks, months, or even years.
This happens to us all, and it can be really frustrating. Fortunately, there are three ways you can easily capture those moments of creativity for later when you can actually do something with them.
Probably the most obvious and simplest way is to write the idea down. A pad and pencil is great to have on you, but sometimes they can be a pain to carry around and you risk losing them. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a pad and no pen! Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives that will work just as well.
If you have a smartphone, there’s almost certainly a note-taking app that will get your ideas out of your head and on to something more permanent. One of the most popular note-taking apps is Evernote, which has folders for organization, syncing capabilities, and integration with other apps. I try it every now and then, but I haven’t been sold on it yet. However, many people swear by it, so it’s definitely worth giving a try.
Sometimes, I’ll just send myself an email, so that way I will have access to that note whenever and wherever I’m actually going to need it. Really, whatever app works for you is the best one you can get.
An alternative, which is especially helpful if you’re driving or your hands are occupied, is to leave yourself a voice memo. Again, most smartphones have this capability with a built-in voice memo app, or one you can download. For those who are less interested in using a phone, an inexpensive digital voice recorder will do the trick.
Since the shower always seems to be a great place for me to come up with new ideas, having a waterproof recorder works especially well.
Sometimes, I just call a friend or loved one to share my idea. That serves two purposes. It gets a second opinion and having a conversation guarantees that at least one of us is going to remember it.
My girlfriend is very used to me excitedly calling her at random times of the day. Our conversation usually goes something like this:
“Hey honey, what do you think of [insert crazy idea here]?”
“That’s a great start, but have you thought of [obvious problem that I overlooked]?”
“No, but now that you mention it, I’ll think about it a little more.”
“Ok, keep thinking and then we’ll do it!”
Having that conversation also helps me to get better with communicating my ideas, so it really is a great solution for more complex ideas.
Whatever method you choose for capturing your notes, make sure to keep it with you and available on a regular basis. You never know when your great idea is going to hit!