Ever have a great idea, only to have it slip your mind before you can do anything about it? Avoid this frustrating experience using these tips!
Photo by Kate Ter Haar (Flickr)
Several different studies have proven that many of our creative ideas come to us while in the shower, during a commute, and right before sleeping. It’s pretty inconvenient, especially for a busy freelance writer with several project happening at once. You try to remember the idea, and then hours later, when you’re in front of your desk, it’s gone. This problem is unbelievably common. If you’ve been burned by your own brain before, as I have, use these techniques for remembering more of your creative ideas:
Record your ideas in the shower with bathtub markers.
So many creative ideas come to us in the shower, of all places. This is, at least in part, because we’re so relaxed in the shower. However, many really creative people have come up with a solution to this problem: bathtub markers. Buy a set of easy-to-wash markers and keep them in the shower. Then, you can jot down your brilliance when it hits you. An alternative is to write with old soap on a glass door.
For hands-free recording, use voice memos.
It’s pretty unsafe to try and write notes while on your commute; however, some of our best daydreams happen in the car. You can safely capture your ideas while using your smartphone or an old-fashioned tape recorder. Simply set it up before driving away and talk to yourself as you drive. This may seem alien to you at first, but this can be a very effective solution.
Keep a bedside notebook and a pocket-sized idea pad.
As you wake up or go to bed, many more ideas come to you. Make sure to keep your bedside notebook handy to write down your best dreams. As you do this more frequently, often, you’ll be able to remember more details from your dreams. Also, when out and about, it’s important to have a small notebook to jot down a witty line, smarty phrase, or idea.
Use helpful apps such as Evernote.
People almost always have their smartphones handy these days. Keep your notes both handy and organized with great apps like Evernote, Drafts, Microsoft OneNote, or Wunderlist. You won’t need to remember more: Let the technology do it for you. Just make sure you back up your ideas.
Increase your levels of sleep, meditation, and exercise.
If you want to remember more, you should be sure to take care of both your body and your brain. That means having good sleeping, eating, and exercising habits. Mediation can help you de-clutter a messy brain, and maintaining the right amount of sleep can help you remember more during the day. Also, a little caffeine can help, but too much can be detrimental for memory.
Use brain exercises to keep yourself sharp.
Just like how it’s difficult to run a marathon if you don’t jog every day, it’s hard to remember the contents of your book idea if you haven’t stretched your brain on a regular basis. Word games, puzzles, and quizzes can help keep you sharp. Some great games include sudoku, Scrabble, and word searches.
Stir up a lost memory through smell.
Let’s assume that you’ve actually already forgotten the idea and you’re trying to remember it after losing it. Many people go back to the place where they had come up with the idea originally. That can definitely help, but if that’s not an option, you can stir up a faded memory through smell. The olfactory bulb is close to the memory systems of the brain, so smelling something familiar is often the best way to stir a lost memory. Did you have that idea while drinking chai tea? Try to think of it again while smelling another cup.