How Do You Keep, Develop and Execute Ideas?

Article taken from Devloung: I’m fond of keeping an idea notebook close at hand. It’s usually my mobile phone, since I’m unlikely to lose it (crossing my fingers here!), and I can sync notes to my computer. I often have fleeting ideas of some great design concept, web application, or article, and it’s usually gone the minute I get distracted. For that reason, I need to be able to grab the opportunity and note down my thoughts.

It’s not such an easy task incubating and execute ideas if all you have are bullet points on a piece of paper, or on a .TXT file, though. While it’s not an elegant solution, it helps me remember. But being loose files and lines of text, the difficulty is connecting these pieces of information with each other, which would probably result in even better ideas.

Mind mapping. I’ve recently tried exploring mindmapping software, which are basically electronic equivalents of writing down your ideas and plans in text bubbles on paper, interconnected with lines, and represented by different symbols. I haven’t gotten the hang of it, but I plan to plot all my ideas, business plans, and strategies on mindmaps. Hopefully, this will help me become more organized.

And because I usually work on different desktops, notebooks and netbooks, I save my mindmaps on a folder commonly accessble via Dropbox, so I can work on it regardless of the computer, platform or even location, as long as I have an Internet connection.

Execution and follow through. Oftentimes, I am able to start with great ideas for a blog or web application. I buy a domain, write copy, and partner with designer and developer colleagues. We start out hyped, excited and energized. But then somewhere along the way the energy fizzles out. Real world concerns like servicing clients, catching deadlines and even cooking dinner might be distracting for one’s focus on executing an idea.

One solution I saw to address this is by not closing any important application windows or browser tabs on my computer. I just close the lid and put it to sleep at the end of the workday. But then with the multitude of tasks I consider important and essential, my workspace becomes too cluttered, and I am left with half-baked plans, half-executed projects, and deadlines still ominously looming over, seemingly waiting to bite me without notice.

Start with a bang. Of the many ideas I’ve incubated in my head and seen the light of day, the ones that succeed, or at least are sustained, are the ones that I’ve sat upon and continuously worked on until launch. Whether it’s building a blog from scratch, finishing a proposal for a client, or writing marketing copy for a new web app or service, I find it best if I get to finish it in one sitting. In find that if it takes too many emails back and forth to confirm designs, edit the text, and other negotiations, energy that could’ve been put towards actually executing an idea might get wasted. Not only that–if you dilly dally too much, you might find yourself having doubts and second thoughts, and therefore the idea fizzles out.

There are so-called serial entrepreneurs who are fond of jumping from one great execution of an idea to another. And more often than not, they gain much experience–and money–in the process. They probably have a tried and tested formula for doing this. Or perhaps they have a lucky streak. Or maybe it just boils down to good habits, good contacts, and a great mindset for developing and executing a good business idea.

Different things might work for different people. What are your “magic formulas” for success?



Josh is a multidsicplinary designer who has a love for creativity and design. He enjoys learning and experimenting in all areas of design. Please feel free to follow Josh on Twitter

  • Call me old-fashioned (which I’m not 🙁 ) but I’ve still got a pencil and a notebook with me all the time, even when I’m carrying my notebook or netbook, iPhone or whatnot, nothing beats a notebook for quickly jotting down things.

    I’m addicted to overpriced notebooks though – they’re marketing truly got to me, I’d love to identify myself with the great minds of the past hahahaha, but nothing beats my [shameless plug]moleskine[/shameless plug]. Love it.

  • Old fashioned is the best way to go! There’s something about the physical connection between you, a pencil and paper. If I ever need anything drawn up asap or noted down, like you I will reach for my notebook and Promecha Pencil.

    I personally always have one of these in my bag: Orange Pantone Notebook lol excuse the plug also 🙂 Very much into my orange and white at the minute, this notebook looks great alongside my macbook in a cafe (haha not that Im a show off or anything). :S

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Daniel, much apreciated!

  • Yeah I was looking at that pencil… looks blooming awesome if you ask me, gonna check if that is available somewhere in the NL as well. Those are the kind of wannahaves that always get to me hahaha