Every day, whether I’m reading, writing or washing my teeth, I think about things I’m not supposed to. Things that, in theory at least, distract me. I can’t help it though, because whatever I’m doing, I’m on the hunt for new ideas and inspirations. They’re all around us. You can find them in your friend’s remodelled apartment and on the box of a new brand of cereal. They’re hiding in that curve of the car that you just sped by. On a website. In an article. Everywhere. I know what I’m saying sounds stupid, but all it takes is opening your eyes and seeing. Not looking …
I have a bad habit regarding the above — I don’t write my thoughts down. If something’s really distinctive, I usually remember it. I also spend time dissecting the idea during mundane tasks and before I fall asleep. My memory however, only commits those inspirations, which have or had a big impact on me. A magazine layout perhaps. A photograph. I forget the little things though. These subtleties are, for the most part, the ingredients which make the dish delicious and while you can make do without them, they can make or break whatever it is that you’re creating.
Write them down!
Seriously, write everything down. Into Evernote, Notes, Tasks, Things, OmniFocus or your moleskine — into whatever you feel comfortable with. A napkin will do. Label and tag them if possible. Make sure they’re searchable and at hand in one form or another. This will save you time. A lot of it. I cannot emphasise how much time I’ve wasted by looking for something which I had found a few days or weeks earlier. I’ve also had instances where I not only forgot where something was but what it was precisely. In my case, this most often refers to webpages and these are things I can find again. It gets worse if it’s something you see in real life, while visiting a store, a restaurant or just an item of clothing while passing someone on the street.
Take a moment of your time, even if you’re in a hurry, and write it down. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Now … where and what was I looking for, before I stopped searching to vent my frustration?