How to make the most of ideas as they hit you.

1. Write down the basics and whole point of the idea as soon as possible.

Ideas can pass through your mind like a signal. Most will hit you seemingly out of nowhere, so you need to capture the outlines and as much detail while the “signal” is still strong.

That way, when you find time to work on it, you can trace your steps and work out what you were thinking at the time, and your mind understands the context much more deeply than a simple sentence/word that you may go back to.

I use Evernote to take the first jottings down, then make a Google Drive folder for the next step.

Google Drive allows you to collect files of all sort of format in one place and you can access it from most devices.

2. Make sure it doesn't already exist!
There is nothing more gutting than coming up with an awesome idea, putting some work into it and thinking you've come up with something that could change the world/your life in some way, only to hear someone passing by say "doesn't X already do that?".
Now don't get me wrong! If something similar exists, it might not “scratch the same itches” as your idea, so at that point it would still be worth looking into.
You might be able to do it better.

3. If it is something to do with what you've seen out and about, or on the Internet, save that source of inspiration with your idea.

It's helpful to have an idea portfolio, a mixture of articles, links, photos, sketches whatever to help piece your idea together and make it into a real concept.
I usually transfer whatever I've found to the previously mentioned Google Docs file so that I can work on the idea from a laptop and expand on it, adding all of the research etc into this same folder.

4. Start thinking about how you're going to action that idea.

Make plans to do research, reserve for example a Tuesday night so that you can really look into it, with time devoted to it.

Personally, I break things down into to do lists, so if I'm writing a story or inventing something, I'm only tackling one issue at a time. The feeling of completing that task and ticking that box really helps you feel like you are progressing, too. Even if doing one of them leads to another 20 boxes to tick on your to do list!
Again, Evernote is great for to do lists and has the added benefit that you won't lose you work if you lose your phone/device.

5. Talk about it to people. If you believe it will work, they will too

You make yourself personally accountable for getting a project or venture done if you've mentioned it to others.
Along the way, you will pick up extra ideas to implement and by talking out loud, you can figure out flaws as the words leave your mouth - riffing with someone that you're comfortable saying anything with is a great way to work out extra kinks and avenues.

No one likes a person who says they're going to do something and then they don't. On the other hand, people can respect someone who admitted that their idea didn't work if they had given it some effort.

In my experience, my more "out there" ideas don't catch as much traction when talking to people about them as "good" ideas.

Subsequently, the ideas that other people have got excited about are the ones that I have pursued further.
Going it alone is fine and honourable, but you're always better off with a little encouragement.

6. Make time!

If the idea swept you off your feet enough for you to want to even write it down, then make sure you're doing it justice. You never know, your story, product or business may change not only your own life, but someone else's, too.

This blog post is by no means the Bible on idea capture and fruition, but it's certainly a start. If you think I can add something to this, please email it to

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