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6 Steps to Effective Brainstorming & Reflecting

Sitting in your office with the phone rining, co-workers talking, and emails pouring in is not the ideal setting to think up major ideas for things such as product features, etc, etc. Or maybe your a student, trying to jot out the outline for that creative writing assignment, but distracted by MTV and MSN. Either way, sometimes you just need to step out from your regular life to think.


1. Find a spot to brainstorm or reflect. Preferably somewhere that is removed from our daily life, somewhere you don't go often. Try to find someplace that makes you feel relaxed and calm.

2. Set aside a timeslot for your brainstorm or reflecting. Depending on the tasks at hand, set aside sufficient time to think, when you will not be urgently needed. A good time is in the evening, because the pressure of the day is over, and your time is pretty flexible.

3. Bring a Pen and Notebook. old-fashioned pen and paper is the best way to record ideas. Resist the urge to use a PDA, laptop or other digital device, as it will likely just distract you further.

4. Pour your thoughts into your notebook. Resist the urge to edit, re-format, or be critical of your own ideas. Write everything you can think of onto your paper. Remember that you are in a deeper state of thought during your reflection time, and take advantage of that. When you return to your computer or large notebook, you can process the raw ideas and make them more useful.


5. Bring as little as possible. I would tell you to turn off your cell phone or blackberry, but it is better that you actually leave it in your car or at home. Having as little around you as possible will help you concentrate. I usually only have with me my notebook, pen, a pack of gum, and my bike.

6. Consider a passive snack or drink. I usually bring water and some gum, because both are unobtrusive, do not distract me, and can still be used while I'm thinking.

Extra: Process your ideas back into your mainstream life. Take your notebook, and process all of your ideas. This could be adding items to  your to-do list, or ripping out a page and storing it for studying later.


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One Response to “6 Steps to Effective Brainstorming & Reflecting”

  1. Very good article. I find that the distractions that you mentioned are real. Also, trying to brainstorm with a laptop is no way as fruitful as pen and paper. I find writing everything down very effective. Later on you can always sift the material. Plus you tend to forget some of the ideas you would want to work on later if you don’t write them down as they come. Thumbs up man!!!