The Idea Box
Ideas! Everything initially starts with an idea. To really benefit from your mental fruits, it is vital that you systematically record and archive your thoughts. Of course, one excellent way to do this to utilize a daily journal. I do highly recommend journals as a way to capture your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Another method I have begun to use is The Idea Box.
An idea box is a repository for raw ideas which later is processed to discover if there are any diamonds in the rough. It is not designed to replace journals or other tools; however, it is simply an alternative method for insuring that your ideas are not lost.
I originally used the idea box concept 15 years ago for a creative writing project; however, I have been experimenting with this technique in 2006 for other goals. Here is how it works. For one of my major projects, instead of using a spreadsheet or log to record my thoughts, I simply write down my ideas (new ones, outrageous ones, impractical ones, innovative ones, and yes, some bad ones too) as they come to me on paper and then I insert them into my idea box. This idea box is really a three dimensional notebook.
What is my idea box? It is a simple square ballot box or suggestion box that I purchased for $2.00. Then, I spend 30 minutes reviewing all the ideas contained within it once a week. Of course, many of the things I have written down are not really viable; nevertheless, a few really great thoughts have been extremely helpful and I included for the implementation of my project.
An advanced method would be to have several subject-specific idea boxes (such as real estate investments, trip to Nepal, lose 20 pounds, great American novel). Instead of one general box for all random thought you have, your biggest dreams, goals, or projects would each have a separate box where you add ideas to increase the speed of implementation, improve the outcome, or augment the scope.
An idea box could be a simply cardboard box filled with paper notes or a sophisticated digital program (such as Evernote or Tinderbox). Both work.
P.S. If you choose to try or experiment with this technique, please let me know how it works for you!