You'll Probably Forget All Of Your Best Ideas

Most of us have ideas for businesses, products and solutions to annoying problems on a daily basis. It's a symptom of living quite a nice life - our minds are free to spend time trying to fix things that aren't direct risks to our lives. You'll disregard almost all of them, even the ones that could have made you a millionaire...

You need to get into the habit of recording your ideas if you ever want to have a chance at implementing them. You also need to take notice when you do have ideas. After years of ignoring your own innovations it becomes second nature and it's easy to overlook your new ideas and discard them as just brain noise. Luckily there's an easy way to get out of this habit and it consists of three pretty easy steps:

  1. Whenever are wherever you are, listen out for the phrases "I wish" and "It's annoying" (and subtle variations of these). These are trigger phrases which let you know a person is about to give you a problem to solve. You can also listen out for yourself saying or thinking these things.
  2. Record these desires and problems.
  3. Spend 5 minutes per day reading through your list to keep it fresh in your mind, and 30 minutes per week dedicated to trying to solve the most potent problems on there.

In no time you'll have a list of desires and problems as long as your arm that you can use as the basis for creating a solution which is guaranteed to have at least one customer. And because people are rarely unique, it's likely there'll be more somewhere.

Let's consider some practicalities for a moment. How do we go about recording and organising all of these thoughts on the fly?

I've seen a few successful people who swear by the traditional method of keeping a notebook on their person at all times and jotting down anything that pops into their head. I do something similar but updated to make better use of the technology that's available to us. It all centres around Trello.

  1. Create a Trello board called 'Ideas'
  2. Add 5 lists called:
    1. Problems and desires
    2. Solutions
    3. Promising
    4. Will Action
    5. Launched
  3. Whenever you encounter a problem or desire add it as a card to list 1.
  4. Whenever you come up with a solution to a problem or desire move the card to 'Solutions' and add some details how you could solve it.
  5. Move cards into the 'Promising' list as you further develop the idea and become confident that it might work.
  6. Whenever you are trying to decide what side-project you'd like to tackle next, just look in your Promising list for a number of potential, pre-filtered ideas.

Here's my Trello board at the moment:

As you can see I have a lot going on and potentially a lot more in the pipeline. My Ideas list is about 20 cards long - way more than I'll probably ever finish, but they're there for me to review when the time comes. I also don't worry about quality of ideas to the left of the board - I just chuck all sorts of things in there and only move the good ones over to the other lists.

Give this a go yourself and you'll quickly start filling up your lists. Maybe one of them will be the multi-million $ idea - and this time you'll remember it.

P.S. I use Google Assistant a lot so I've set up an IFTTT task which allows me to say "Hey Google, I've had an idea, blah blah" and it'll add it to my Trello board ready for me to review later. Even more efficient than a pen and paper 👌


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2019 Goals
Achieve £500 MRR
(£0/£500)
Launch Servd, a zero-friction hosting platform for Craft CMS
Present two talks outside of my local area
(0/2)
Write one article per week
(2/52)