Just as the recent flood of battery-conserving articles floating in the blogosphere, there has also been a surplus of articles talking about how to me more creative, and increase idea output. Personally, I don’t have much patience for the “Top 10 ways to…” when there are only 2-3 good points, and the rest are filler like “Sit in a quiet place” or “Get rid of all distractions”.
However yesterday I saw an article on LifeOptimizer which has a really cool idea that can make you more creative. Having an idea quota.
Sure, some people would say that idea quota is an oxymoron, because creativity is often interpreted to be spontaneous, unregulated, and cannot be measured daily. While this may be true, I think that having a quota can force you to work your brain, and could train our minds to think more creatively.
I have created an “Idea Log” notebook in Microsoft OneNote, and from now on I will be recording my ideas on seperate pages, inlcuding a description, next actions, and anything else I have time to write. These pages will be seperated into sections such as Business Ideas, Blog, and Academic. My current quota is 5 ideas per day. That may not sound like a lot, but for each idea I record as much as I can, and I try to develop a couple next actions. For example one idea that I got when reading John Chow was to use “Google Section Targetting” to increase the relevancy of my Adsense ads. Next actions for that are to look into it and find out how to do it, and then to implement it on Gearfire.I don’t even have to mention that I get tens of other ideas which are not actionable at all, which I file away into Reference.
You may be thinking “What? How can I output that many ideas per day?”. It takes a bit of work, but here are a couple things that I am implementing to help.
1. I always have my notebook or PDA on hand. I usually alternate between my Sony Clié (picked it up at a garage sale for $10, great deal) and my Moleskine Cahier.
2. Turn off iPod or laptop during travel. It is easy to pass a 2-hour car ride or the subway ride to work by cranking the tunes on your pod, or watching some flicks on your laptop. However spending the time carrying out a conversation with someone, brainstorming, or just generally reflecting will grant you many more mental benefits that watching Shrek 3.
3. Put aside time to reflect. If you have the time, and many people don’t, set aside some time each day to reflect. I usually spend a couple minutes before going to bed to reflect, goal review, and choose MITs for the next day. However if you are trying to brainstorm, you may find that doing so during the day at a quiet place such as at a park might work best.
Great article LifeOptimizer, and I will put ThinkerToys onto my reading list!
10 Tips to Become an Idea Person [Life Optimizer]