Bursting with ideas? Idea Organization 101

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I know you are bursting with ideas and big plans for your business, right?  Ideas come in the most unlikely places and often when you least expect it.  Ahh the creative mind…

As a designer and blogger, I carry a small sketchbook (the old fashioned paper kind) with me most of the time. I use it to sketch out new ideas, jot down notes etc. I also use my iPhone to take pictures of inspiration, send myself emails, etc. What tools do you use?

If you are just starting out with a new business or working on new ideas, having a place or places to organize your thoughts is critical. You may have some tried and true methods that you have used in your personal or work life that you can use again as an entrepreneur, or you may want to experiment with new ways to organize your thoughts.

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  • How do you keep your thoughts organized?
  • How do you make sure they don’t get lost in a sea of great ideas?
  • How do you make sure you take action on these ideas?
  • What are the keys to success with idea generating and then making them happen?

{Sticky notes from Fly Trap One}

 

 

1. First you need to get them written down.

2. Then you need to get them organized…

I need to have my ideas in one place like a notebook or sketchbook. I’m also very visual and like to see ideas and inspiration in front of me. Try using cork/pin boards or magnetic boards to pin tear sheets and ideas to it. Chalkboards are great too. I love the idea of writing out your ideas, goals and dreams boldly on a chalkboard! What about a rolodex or accordian files? Slip those sticky notes inside and organize in different categories. I’ve also seen some great ideas on Pinterest using clipboards mounted on a wall. Cover them with pretty paper and use them to organize and display your inspiration and ideas. The idea is to capture as many ideas you can in one place.

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Organizations clothespins from Clip & Pin, file box from Richelle, corkboard from Ikea

 3. Schedule your ideas into action

I try to go back and re-read my notes or flip through my sketchbook to decide what ideas I want to take action on. Sometimes they are just waiting there to be used when the time is right. Sometimes they need to be prioritized. I find apps to be a great tool for scheduling and organizing ideas. Here are some apps you might want to look at.

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Help the rest of us learn new ways of wrangling our ideas by sharing how you stay organized with us! Do you have some tools or pictures of your organization at work? Please share in the comments section! 

  • Vanessa

    I keep my ideas in a notebook as well. I then use Post-it note flags to label them (blog posts, projects, to-do). Then once a week, I go through my flags and put them either into Evernote, my calendar or my spark file.

  • Ashley Pahl

    I really need to get back into using a cork board – I tend to jot ideas down on anything I can find, so it’d be nice to keep them all together, and not buried on my desk!

    Lately, I’ve been using chalkboard to keep my ideas and to-do lists organized. I have a two-chalkboard system – a larger chalkboard for on-going projects and to-dos, and a smaller one for what needs to get done that day. I wrote about it here: http://www.shemakesahome.com/2013/05/the-chalkboard-organizational-system.html

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  • Stitchknit

    I’m a spiral notebook fan here. Have been for decades. I’ve never taken the notes out of the books, but think I will after reading here. Never thought about something like Evernote. I have always reviewed the older pages of my notebooks, and love crossing things off if I’ve used the idea….or if I’ve tried it & moved on.

  • Eleanor

    I use a modified version of GTD where I have certain projects or ‘meta ideas’ listed as tasks in Outlook and then when I get an idea related to it I jot it down ‘notes’ section. It’s synched with my iphone)

    For example: I have a ‘someday maybe’ task, where I add any ‘bright shiny object’ idea that pops into my mind (ex. organize women’s creativity/productivity weekend retreat in the Italian Alps!) I review this at the beginning of each year, from time-to-time to see which ones I still am excited about/have the bandwidth to tackle etc.

  • http://aeolidia.com/ Arianne Foulks

    Ooo ooo ooo, I have no idea how I lived before Evernote! You can see some of my uses for Evernote here:

    http://aeolidia.com/blog/2013/05/organizing-my-life-with-evernote/

    Work ideas, recipes, receipts, travel info, to-do lists, you name it!

    Those who love traditional notebooks (but like the idea of digital backup) can use the Evernote Moleskine notebook – almost like magic. 🙂

  • Debra Norton

    I love hearing everyone’s comments on what you use to keep organized and on track. Arianne I’ll definitely check out your tips 🙂

  • Leigh Morlock

    I’m super visual (& tactile). One new way I’ve been organizing is carrying index cards – you can write one idea per card and keep them altogether. Then I can shuffle them, reorder them, pick out what I want to work out, or pin the most important ones on a cork board.

  • Gwen Bortner

    A little late to the game, but I find that http://www.todoist.com is a great online tool for managing tasks and ideas. The project manager in me loves the grouping by project and the task manger loves the ability to build in recurring activities.

    I still use a notebook sometimes and for some things. But ultimately I try to keep everything in a single system so I am not losing things through the cracks of multiple methods!

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