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02 Mar

Empty your mind

Datum: 2011-03-02 16:24

Do you often get new ideas? Have you expe­ri­enced com­ing to think of some­thing smart which has to do with a par­tic­u­lar task when doing some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent? Do you want to get things done as smooth­ly as possible? 

That makes us two. 

This last week has been incred­i­bly intense. I have been entire­ly booked with assign­ments and have had to devel­op a new lec­ture simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, while being crunched for time. 

To me, devel­op­ing new lec­ture mate­r­i­al is about con­sol­i­dat­ing the main the­sis I wish to pur­sue, build a sto­ry, cre­ate a dra­mat­ic flow and above all find suit­able, attrac­tive pho­tos and images. 

Being a struk­tör, I want to get things done as sim­ple as pos­si­ble, with the least amount of effort.

Make use of that the mind works on its own accord

To me, being faced with an assign­ment such as described above is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make use of the fact that my mind works on its own when I’m doing oth­er things, almost auto­mat­i­cal­ly, rather than sched­ul­ing time to cre­ate the mate­r­i­al in a stressed and forced manner. 

Dur­ing these intense days, ideas for the mate­r­i­al I need to pro­duce tend to just pop up”. It might be a pow­er­ful metaphor, a clever way to phrase some­thing, a series of con­se­quences to a cer­tain action illus­trat­ed in an illu­mi­nat­ing way, a smart head­line, or a short slide-show. 

Depend­ing on what you are about to devel­op, to you it might be how the new busi­ness should be orga­nized, how projects should run, how your new ser­vice can become even sharper.

When new ideas are born out of nothing

It feels good to lit­er­al­ly lean back and let the devel­op­ment of ideas hap­pen by itself. But for it to work, some­thing has to hold true: As soon as I get the idea, I have to write it down or sketch it out. I cap­ture the idea as it appears, put it on paper and emp­ty my head. Not until then does it seem to be enough space for new ideas to come and before you know it, a new thought pops up, which I make note of, and on it goes. 

Slow­ly, and some­times aston­ish­ing­ly fast, the new solu­tion, the new mate­r­i­al, the refined process, appears, with the least amount of effort. If I don’t make a note of the idea right away, it keeps spin­ning in my mind and noth­ing new will appear as long as it does. It might also be that it sud­den­ly dis­solves, and a new thought emerges, but lat­er I have trou­ble recall­ing that first bril­liant idea. The idea is lost. Tough luck!

Always ready

My mes­sage to you today is as fol­lows: Make sure you always have some­thing to make notes on or in, where ever you are; on the bus, on the plane, at the sem­i­nar, at your desk.

This way you will make max­i­mal use of com­ing to think of things spon­ta­neous­ly rather than try­ing to force the ideas out of your mind when you have sched­uled time to brain­storm in your agen­da. It’s not a mat­ter of being able to work any­where or fill­ing every wak­en moment with work, but rather to make the most of all the ideas which emerge effortlessly.

Make demands on your note-making-tool 

You need to be able to get your note-mak­ing-tool out and ready quick­ly and not have to wait for it to start up”. If you want to catch the ideas as they pass you by, you need to catch as catch can”; reach out and grab it before it’s gone. On top of mak­ing the note in the first place, if it is easy for you to han­dle the note once back at the office or by the com­put­er, it’s even better. 

It’s equal­ly impor­tant for this type of mate­r­i­al that you deter­mine if the idea requires a to-do-task to be per­formed, if it should be clas­si­fied as ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al, if it will ini­ti­ate a new project or per­haps it is some­thing which can be done in less than two min­utes (and then you will do it right away).

This is how I do it

Per­son­al­ly I always keep a Mole­sk­ine-note­book in my bag and I love it. The Mole­sk­ine-note­book will soon be in every man’s pock­et and for good rea­son: it’s classy, clean, ele­gant and have high-qual­i­ty paper. 

If you pre­fer a dig­i­tal tool, you might enjoy using Office OneNote, Ever­note or SOHO Notes.

All that mat­ters is that you can emp­ty your mind quick­ly so that the flow of new and good ideas continues.

How do you do it?

What do you always keep with you to make notes on (or in)? A phys­i­cal or dig­i­tal tool? 

Please leave a com­ment below.