Carry a notepad and pen with you everywhere you go.
As digital media artist Aaron Koblin states –
“They say an elephant never forgets. Well, you are not an elephant. Take notes, constantly. Save interesting thoughts, quotations, films, technologies…the medium doesn’t matter, so long as it inspires you. When you’re stumped, go to your notes like a wizard to his spellbook. Mash those thoughts together. Extend them in every direction until they meet”
You don’t need anything fancy to capture your ideas. In fact, you can pick up a basic little pad of paper and a pen for less than $2.
The fact is unless you’re a memory champion who dedicates several hours a day to rigorous mental training, you won’t be able to remember all the ideas you have during the day.
You see, there are limits to your working memory. You can only hold new information in your working memory for about 20 seconds. If you don’t write it down or use a memory technique within that time, the idea is likely to disappear.
All you’ll remember is that there’s something you should remember. Trust me, that’s not fun.
And if you try to hold onto too much information all at once, you’re asking for trouble. The latest research tells us that you can only hold 4 plus or minus two bits of information at a time. At some point, something has to give.
The solution is simple and it’s insanely cheap – dump your ideas out of your brain and onto paper.
When you consider that you have on average 60,000 conscious thoughts a day, there’s a good chance that a fair chunk of those thoughts are good ideas. Ideas that can move you forward in a positive direction.
Dustin Wax from Life Hacker says don’t let those thoughts march “like lemmings over the cliff and into eternity!” In other words, don’t let your ideas go to waste.
When the notepad and pen are there by your side, there are no excuses. Everything is there. It’s all ready to go. When the idea strikes you can quickly jot it down.
Not only will you capture many good ideas, but you’ll free up precious mental space. This will help you to focus on whatever you need to do in the here and now.
You never know, the extra mental power and ideas may change the direction of a project, or even the direction of your life. Try it and see.