I am a terrible sleeper. I have struggled with insomnia for years. And although I am currently coping with it pretty well, I still have my moments.
You know when I tend to come up with my best ideas? At about 12:30am. In fact, I came up with the idea for this article at 12:37am exactly on 2nd November 2011.
I usually go to bed at around 12am, and it typically takes me about 20-30 minutes to get to sleep. So 12:30am is that time – when I am just about to fall asleep – that inspiration strikes.
It used to be the same with songwriting. I used to love writing and recording songs, and my best songs were always written in the middle of the night.
Why am I telling you this? To make a point – that inspiration can strike at any time. Usually at a far from ideal time. And the worst thing you can do when inspiration strikes is not immediately stop what you are doing and get that thought down onto paper (or into a computer).
There have been plenty of occasions when I have come up with some wonderful idea and not made a note of it. Let me tell you a simple but irrefutable fact – if you don’t make a note of it, you will probably forget it.
And the whole concept of “if it’s worth remembering, I won’t forget it” is a load of rubbish. Have you ever forgotten anything important in your life? Yes? Need I say anything else?
Catalogue Your Ideas
There is another reason why you should always make a note of your ideas as and when they hit you. By cataloguing them, you are freeing up room in your brain to get on with more immediate matters.
If you are in middle of doing something and inspiration strikes, you are not being efficient by ignoring the idea and trying to get on with your work, because the idea will distract you. If you make a note of it, your brain will relax, knowing that the idea has been put to one side, but is not forgotten.
This is a concept I first learnt when I read Getting Things Done (not an affiliate link – why?). If you haven’t read that book and find yourself constantly overwhelmed by your workload, read that book. It completely changed my life – seriously.
I personally use Evernote to record all of my ideas. It’s installed on my PC, iPhone and iPad, which means I can make a note that will synchronize across all platforms, regardless of where I am.
Whilst I would recommend that you use Evernote to catalogue your ideas, it ultimately doesn’t matter how you get it done. Just get it done.
Over To You
How about you – what do you do when inspiration strikes? How do you keep track of your ideas? Let us know in the comments section!