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Keeping an Idea Log

I occasionally give a free seminar on “Thinking about Thinking”. I am not an expert in this subject. However, I read quite a bit and practice some. Therefore, I find this as a way of sharing ideas and brainstorming with others.

One of the things I tell my audience is to keep an idea log. It is a simple journal of the ideas. You get ideas when you read books, talk to people, listen to radio, watch TV or taking a shower. These are worth recording. This is the very first step.

I keep one. I have been doing that for several years now.Since I cannot act on all of them, just the thrill of seeing one of your old ideas becoming a product somewhere makes it worth it. There is no specific format, but here is what I keep track of:

– The name of the idea (it is good to name it. Use a keyword or phrase)
– What is the source of the idea (so that I can go back to more if I need)
– When did I get it
– What am I going to do about it (next steps – research more, let it cook etc.)

I started with a notebook, moved to a notepad, then to a Microsoft Word document and now I use a wiki.

Not all ideas may be good. However, ideas are stepping-stones to other ideas. If you discuss your ideas with friends and family, you may get a lot of useful input. You can use this to refine the ideas further. I will guarantee that this will make you think more. Just try it. You may be pleasantly surprised.