Big ideas come to us at different times. We might be driving or in the shower. We might be taking time off for a short get away or take a long drive to our destination. Our mind goes to big personal and professional growth and time to dream big. How we do capture, store and incorporate these big ideas? How do we move from idea to action? Here are three steps that make your ideas come to life.
A friend gives you the name of a perfect little house in Galveston. You are thinking of the pivot you want to make professionally. You might want to own a series of beach houses. Or maybe you want to start a service cleaning rental homes or delivering groceries to rental homes. The first step is to capture your ideas, especially if you are a prolific idea generator. Capture is to write it down or keep it digitally. Your capture tool should be consistent and simple. Where do we capture this information?
- Paper is easy to use. Just grab a pad and pencil. Many of us use post it notes. My favorite capture tool is an TUL notebook.
- We can use Google docs, Siri or Alexa to add to your list. Our digital list can be One Note, Notes or any other digital app on a device. Using these digital tools you can search your notes to find specific information.
- Be sure you have your capture tool with you as ideas spontaneously bubble up.
- Use just one capture tool to keep all your information together.
You are not necessarily acting on this information immediately so you need to store this information to find it later. Your information needs to move from capture to storage.
- Use your weekly planning time to store information for retrieval. As part of Getting Things Done (GTD), there is “someday/maybe” as the place to store your ideas.
- File folders, pocket folders and plastic envelopes can store your paper. Remember to set up categories for your ideas. Be prepared for multiple folders, one for each idea.
- Evernote notebooks, Notes folders and One Note give you the digital place to add your list. From here you can flush out more information as you research.
- Edit these folders as your ideas come and go.
Strategic planning time is a routine that connects your stored ideas and incorporating these to create an action plan. You can retrieve your ideas and determine if you are ready to act or edit. This intentional kind of planning can happen monthly, semi-annually or yearly. Most naturally is occurs at New Year’s or Back to School when we think about change. A summer strategic planning time might be even better as this aligns with preparing for the fall.
Incorporating a new idea, big or small, is best accomplished with structure. Structure is setting your month, week and day up for research, tasks or projects with your new goal. Assigning a time to do this work helps you gain momentum and keep focused on the outcome. If you have a full schedule, in order for this new work to be incorporated, something else must be edited.
Here are examples of big goals that I have seen happen with this work flow starting with capture to incorporate. A family decides to turn their home into a rental and move to their previous rental. Another family visits Galveston each summer and after many years decides to purchase a beach home. A new entrepreneur begins a small business that grows to include all of her family working for her. Your personal and professional dreams can happen with a process to move forward with capturing, storing and incorporating big ideas.