The concept of an 'idea bag'

Take notes of random, interrupting ideas.

Posted by Krzysztof Zbiciński on 2017-04-03. Last update on 2017-10-30.

Each time an interesting idea pops in my head, I have an urge to develop/investigate it almost immediately. It may last for few seconds, minutes or even hours (thankfully it’s the first case most of the time). I usually end up using Google to research the topic and quickly assess if it is worth executing or not.

As good as having exciting ideas may sound, it can be disastrous for focus and productivity which I highly appreciate. What is more, a thought is volatile and can be simply forgotten. So somewhere in the high school I developed a concept of an ‘idea bag’ in order to tackle this problem.

When an idea strikes again and I don’t have time to deal with it right now (working on something else, trying to sleep, whatever) or may be useful in the future (e.g. a gift idea) I open up OneNote Trello using a widget on my phone’s home screen and briefly note down the thought. It can be a sentence, few connected keywords or even some seemingly random words.

Having that gives me a huge benefit that I still tend to underestimate.

It helps maintaining a clear state of mind, without the baggage of remembering something. Noting interrupting thoughts down allows to get back on track immediately while keeping the brain satisfied, because the super-exciting idea will be eventually taken care of.

I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Next time you want to stay focused open up a notepad and store all your random ideas that are not related to your current work there. Then immediately get back to your main task and take care of the ideas only after you finish the main issue.

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash.