Many of us are struck with brilliant ideas at random points during the day. Maybe we’re in the middle of another work task, maybe we’re relaxing, whatever.
The worst think you can do when this happens is not do anything and not write down the idea. The second worst thing you can do is write down a quick little one-liner to remind you to do it later.
Why is that so bad? It’s because inspiration has a very short shelf-life.
Most times when you return to that one-liner you wrote down, it’ll look as foreign as if someone else wrote it about someone else’s idea. In fact, the only thing you’ll likely remember about the idea is how much you loved it before compared to now.
Luckily there’s a simple fix: when you’re struck by serious inspiration, capture as much of it as possible in as raw a format as possible.
One of the best methods is to immediately make a voice recording of you talking through the idea. Open the voice recorder on your mobile device, and just let your enthusiasm flow for as long as it needs.
Another option is to sit down and capture the idea in bullet points, sketches, and any other written or visual detail you can. Again, the key is to keep capturing until you feel like the idea has had time to reveal itself.
Either technique might temporarily derail your current task, but if it’s real innovation it’s likely to be worth it.
If you get struck by an idea that gets you enthused, don’t let the moment pass. Capture it as best you can while its there so that there’ll be enough of the genius to remind you when you come back to it.