Strategies for remembering your ideas

Remember that great idea in the middle of the night that was going to make you a ka-jillionaire, only to wake up and find it had evaporated with the sunrise? Or that time in the shower when you mentally composed the perfect first sentence of your version of the Great American novel only to have it slip down the drain by the time you rinsed the soap suds out of your eyes.

Yeah, we've been there. More than one superb email marketing campaign idea or can't-miss or pithy social media post has slipped away into the ether because we were driving, half-asleep, or otherwise too engaged to jot it down.

So, we've found a few methods to make sure the clever ideas don't get away. Try these and see if they work for you.

  • Keep a pocket notebook. Sure, it seems simple and maybe too easy. But having a notebook and (this is key) pen or pencil with you can work wonders. Caveat: You must get into the habit of pulling it out and writing in it.
  • Notes app on your smartphone. Okay, for all you who eschew the old-school methods, here's the digital option. Find a notetaking app you like (and find easy to use) and add it to your phone's home screen. A voice recorder or voice-to-text app makes it easy-peasy.
  • Sticky notes. There's a reason everyone uses sticky notes. They're easy, convenient, and ubiquitous. Just don't let them get away from you. Compile them in a notebook or an online document at the end of the day and save yourself the mad panic of thinking you've lost that über-important message you've jotted down on one. Also, beware of fans and air ducts in your office.
  • White Board. Stick a giant whiteboard up in your office or even paint a whole wall with whiteboard paint. Jot down big ideas in a big space!
  • Shower marker. Keep a whiteboard marker in the shower just in case the muse strikes in the middle of your rub-a-dub-dub. Or an alcohol marker if the whiteboard marker is a little too temporary. Be sure to let your significant other know that a bit of rubbing alcohol and elbow grease will remove your hen scratching when the time comes.
  • Keep a notepad and pen by your bedside. Sometimes genius strikes in the middle of the night when our brain is relaxed and the subconscious takes over. Be ready to write down any grand ideas that float to the surface while you're in your pajamas.
  • Stow a notepad and pen in the car, too. You might be surprised how useful this is, not just for capturing good ideas, but for making grocery lists, games of tic-tac-toe, or for leaving the strongly worded note on the windshield of the BMW that took up two parking spaces.