Many successful entrepreneurs claim that taking notes and making lists should be treated as an indispensible part of your daily activities. Capturing ideas, writing down day-to-day, monthly and long-term goals can keep one productive and focused on getting things done.
For example, Richard Branson keeps four types of lists: ideas, thing people say, people to call and people who influence him. Thenotebook or idea book format is flexible and can be adapted to individual habits, needs and areas of work.
According to a widely recognized study published by American researcher and psychology professor Donald W. MacKinnon, creativity comes in three different forms-artistic creativity that is intuitive and reflects the person’s inner perceptions, scientific and technological creativity, which deals with finding new solutions to practical and technical problems, and hybrid creativity, which allows the creator to ponderproblems and come up with solutions by incorporating into them their own personality. The third kind is often associated with the field of architecture and professions in which playfulness and technical precision converge.
“Anyone who aspires to lead a company must develop a habit of taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere I go.” Richard Branson
MacKinnon’s findings also showed that creativity in general is not a talent, but a way of operating that can be applied to all types of work by learning to get into an open/creative mode of thinking, which allows you to play with problems and brainstorm, or into a closed mode, which relates to the execution of solutions.
Creativity is a crucial element in the early stages of project development. Having an idea book can be of great help at these times but, depending on the way it’s structured, it can also be used to boost productivity throughout the entire process. It can be kept as a notebook, sketchpad or a digital collection of thoughts and concepts on platforms such as Evernote, which allows one to focus, organize and be constantly inspired. Here are seven ways in which having an idea book can help your business:
#1 – Idea Vault
While some ideas are implemented throughout different phases of a project, a wealth of ideas ends up in the bin. Some of the disregarded ideas might not work when solving a specific problem, but could be extremely valuable in another situation. Instead of focusing all our attention on the project at hand, a small part of our time should be dedicated to taking note of those flashes of brilliance that would otherwise go unnoticed. Writing down scratched creative ideas with potential could create a great asset stock.
#2 – Get Things Done
Once written down or captured as a sketch, an idea becomes more crystallized in a similar way as when we tell or show it to another person. Having an outlet where one can articulate their thoughts can prove beneficial when it comes to productivity. In that sense, a book idea can be used in several ways-as a loose calendar, a journal or a work sheet where noted ideas are ticked as accomplished.
#3 – Boost Creativity
In the career of any archipreneur, there are extremely prolific days and then there are times when ideas don’t come easily. In moments when our zest and enthusiasm for work are drying up, it is important to remain motivated. Peeking into an idea book can sometimes provide specific solutions, but more often can be used to boost confidence and inspire. By going through thoughts and concepts assembled over time, one is easily be reminded of the wealth of possibilities that accompany every project. This can be conductive to creativity and cause our thinking to become more playful and branch out into new directions.
#4 – Clarify Thinking
Lack of structure in business is a guarantee for failure, but when it comes to idea books, messiness can be good. The lack of cohesiveness and organization allows one to capture loose thoughts and let their mind wonder without the fear of a bad outcome. However, having an idea book does bring another kind of structure. Although potential shortcomings and flaws are permitted when writing down ideas, by being “articulated” on paper or display, a thought pattern can emerge to reveal the way our mind works. Some have a more organized approach to taking notes by categorizing and constantly updating them. In either case, developing a habit of capturing ideas on a daily basis creates a kind of discipline that spills into other areas of our work and life.
#5 – Make Networking Efficient
As an entrepreneur, a large part of your time is dedicated to networking at business meetings, conferences and other events within your industry. Taking a snapshot of a business card or writing down impressions of people and conversations can help remember them before they become vague outlines. The number of people we meet can be overwhelming, which is why taking notes whenever you encounter someone new has significant advantages over simply taking their cards.
#6 – Process Experiences
Getting through a project from conception to completion can be a lengthy and hectic endeavor. Specific experiences and dynamics can be lost in the process of getting things to work and meeting deadlines. Using an idea book as a sort of person journal will provide a way of capturing observations on projects as they progress. This way small lessons learnt become more clear and easier to incorporate into future projects.
#7 – Keep Track of Goals
Having a great vision for a business is the first step towards success, but what separates those that make it, is the ability to follow through and execute ideas. Writing these down will help you visualize specific and long-term goals and motivate into action.
“Ideas are like slippery fish; they have a peculiar knack for getting away from us unless we gaffe them on the point of a pencil.” Earl Nightingale
Nowadays, anyone carrying a smartphone has instant access to numerous apps that allow us to take notes. Regardless of whether you use digital tools or have a more analogue approach, keeping an idea book is a must in entrepreneurship. If you’re looking for a note-taking app, you can check of Evernote, Google Notes, Uber Note, and several new ones that share a similar principle of enabling users to collect and organize different types of media. These vary by type of content and area of work-from word-based to multimedia content, depending on the industry in which you operate. Or you can simply opt for a good old Moleskine.
Let us know how you keep track of your ideas?