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02 Mar

Empty your mind


Date: 2011-03-02 16:24 Comments: 0 st

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.

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