Organize your ideas in an idea book or a journal

If you are a writer, blogger or working in a creative field, you may be struck with inspiration at the most unusual places- while waiting for your train, taking a walk or just as you are about to fall asleep.

Some people may jot down the ideas on whatever pieces of paper that they could find, some on their mobile phone or some…they try to mentally remember these ideas for later.

In the past, I do not have dedicated book(s) to jot down my ideas or notes- and they ended up being all over the place that I could not find them when I wanted do. It was total chaos when I needed to find where did I write down a certain piece of information.

Do not rely on your memory

Write things down

When a wave of unexpected inspiration or idea hits you, do not commit it to your memory because trust me…. you would not remember it. Even if you remember, you most probably would not have the ‘flow’ and structure.

Furthermore, relying on your memory puts unnecessary pressure on your brain cells and would things more stressful for you as well. It would be better to perform a brain dump… ie just get these ideas down somewhere.

To use book or your mobile device?

It really depends on which method you are comfortable with. Your mobile phone would probably be something that you carry with you wherever you go. Whereas a notebook is an additional piece that is going to add more weight to your pouch, bag or carry on case.

Personally for me, I find that the ideas flow out better when I write them down instead of franctically typing the words on my Smartphone:

I mainly use 2 books for jotting down ideas:

1. A former work diary that I repurpose as my idea book.

Notebook for ideas from my repurpose diary

Above is a work diary that I bought from my trip to Thailand. I love the diary (it cost me 235 baht). When I resigned from my job in May last year, there seemed to have no use for the diary anymore.

Instead of throwing it away, I use it as an idea book after removing any sensitive company information from it. I carry this diary around my home- by my bedside, next to my laptop, on the dining table, outside the back porch (while waiting for my clothes in the washing machine) and to the library.

Even the idea of this book first came when I am outside without my laptop being next to me. I am referring to my diary as I have included some outlines for this post which I would otherwise forget if I did not write it down.

After I utilize the idea in the book, I would strike off the information, indicating it has been used.

2. A thinner and lighter notebook when I am out and about

I always put a lightweight thin note book (A5 size) that can fit into my handbag or any of my carryon bags. The book is much lighter compared to the solid diary which is hard to carry around.

The book also comes in handy because as a blogger, sometimes if I need to write down notes as I am visiting a place for future reference. I also use this book when I wish to jot down some notes while I am on the line with someone or a company.

My thin notebooks to write everything in one place

For example when I call customer service to report something, I would need to take note of the date, time and name of staff who I have spoken to. This is because sometimes the issue I have highlighted gets ‘overlooked’ and when I call back the next time, I am often asked who have I spoken to and when.

Case in point…few months ago, I called my telco to inquire about a plan offer that they sent me via sms. The conversation went very well and the staff took the trouble to explain to me in detail what I wanted in the new plan. I did not think it would be any problem but nevertheless, I jot down the name of the staff, date and time of conversation.

When I received the bill of the following month, I was hit by an unpleasant surprise. My phone bill was way much higher than expected.

Not only the customer service provided the wrong information about the plan I have wanted, she also wrongly upgraded to an even more expensive plan. When I made the subsequent call and was told the correct information, initially I was told that if I wish to downgrade back to the plan I had wanted, I have to physically walk in to their service center.

Had I not written down the conversation details and could quote them the name of the staff I spoke to, they had no excuse. Anyway the case dragged for almost 3 months before they could get everything sorted out and refund me the overcharge.

In the past, I used to scribble down messages on envelopes or whatever piece of paper that was within hand’s reach. And I could never find the envelope or that piece of paper few months down the line when I need it.

Now, I know the information is in either one of the books. But often I can remember which book I have written the information down.  I make most of my calls using my mobile, I would have the notebook with me with a pen before I start the call. Or else if it is an incoming call, I would retrieve the book and start to jot down the information if required.

The simple act of having dedicated book(s) to write down information has kept my ideas and little bits of information more organized and accessible. Simple notebooks can be bought relatively cheap from the Daiso, Dollar Tree or normal stationery stores. When I was younger, I had an idea book that has cute designs:

But as I got older, I tend to prefer more plain pages.

Whether it is creative books, plain pages or a bullet journal, find a book type that you like the most as you would be using the book quite often.

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