In this day and age information is abundantly available and better yet, we can get any concept in visual form likkity-split. Having any question answered in 2 seconds makes inquisitive thinking so much simpler and faster! It feels easier to come up with new ideas and creative musings, anytime, anywhere. When a question comes to mind, we no longer have to put it off to investigate later.
We simply make a few keystrokes on our phones and Voila! We have our answers, which in turns opens the door to more creative thoughts.
Unfortunately, I have never considered myself particularly creative. In fact it has been difficult for me to give myself credit for any type of creativity. I always thought of myself as plain, boring, vanilla. But a close friend made me realize that I am actually quite creative – in my own way – and I never really noticed until she pointed out a few patterns of behavior I regularly use to pursue things of interest. It was a fun little epiphany to me! And realizing this made it permissible to pursue even more creative thoughts and avenues.
Years ago keeping up with my creative ideas was challenging because unless I stopped what I was doing to spend immediate time documenting an idea, it was too much work and rarely did I have that luxury. Documenting meant writing things out or researching on the spot. When I didn’t have time, it was always to struggle to remember. There have been many times where I’ll think of something I want to pursue and within 5 minutes I have forgotten about it until it randomly pops up 8 months later. I know unless I make note of an idea in some way, the thought or idea will evaporate for sure. Next, I have to figure out what I might want to do with the idea, or how much I care about it and decide if it is worthy of keeping track of it.
Of course the digital age has made keeping track of ideas sooooo easy. If something piques my interest, one or two clicks can capture the idea and safely tuck it away for me in less than 3 seconds. It’s bliss for those of us who have to write stuff down in order to remember them. I have learned to use some great digital tools to keep track of my ideas, as well as put some organization to those thoughts. For example, I have a built a terrific resource library in my OneNote app. If you have a question about anything small business, I probably have a resource that can help. For those ideas that give me inspiration, I have created 70 Pinterest boards that range in topics from hobbies, cooking and entertaining, DIY, business, and decorating. I even have a board entitled “Projects My Husband Needs To Do”. FYI, he doesn’t know about this board. But a wife can dare to dream, right?
(Just a few of my Pinterest boards)
I also use the Notes app on my phone. At last look I have 113 notes in there, stored between 8 folders. As much as my smart phone, computer, and camera have simplified storing ideas, my favorite way to document ideas is with a good old fashioned file folder. My "Ideas" folder contains samples, clippings, notes, pictures, post-its and other items that are attached to ideas I have. It is so much fun to pull this folder out every once in a while and go through all the goodies that I have collected. And the range of topics runs the gamut of business, personal, relationships, health, celebrations, gifts, skills and so on.
I LOVE my idea file and I believe every single person should have one. What the physical file makes me realize is that having an idea is the beginning of a dream. It doesn’t matter the size of the idea. And the dream also doesn’t have to be gigantic. It’s just a lovely little sample of our minds that give us joy, inspiration, and a peek at a possibility into the future. Opening my idea file feels like a mini getaway vacation. It’s an indulgence. I get to play in the middle of things that I want to learn more about or pursue.
Start your idea file – physically or digitally. Give yourself that gift. Allow yourself the indulgence. And light those creative sparks. It’s never too late to start dreaming.
“What you think you create, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you become.” - Buddha
Jodi Henson is a small business expert, author, entrepreneur and founder of The Softer Side of Success (www.thesoftersideofsuccess.com). She works with aspiring and existing small business owners to help them overcome challenges and attain their goals. If you are looking to define your next steps, contact her at email@example.com.