How I Organize My Ideas

The following post is written by Andrea of Simple Organized Living:

source: qisur

I often have so many ideas floating around in my head — ideas for house projects, ideas for my business and website, ideas for dinner, ideas for gifts I could buy, things I should do, errands I have to run, etc. etc.

However, the more ideas I have, the more overwhelmed I start to feel. And the more overwhelmed I feel, the likelier it is that I will forget my ideas.

It was overwhelming.

So I Organized My Ideas.

A few months ago I decided to start organizing my ideas. I knew I needed a really simple system, otherwise I wouldn’t use it. And I wanted it to be completely portable so I could utilize it even on the go.

I tried a few fancier ideas, like excel spreadsheets or printable lists, but none of them worked great for me. So lately, I’ve been using a small notebook, a pen, and highlighters — simple, but  they work!

With my pen and paper in hand, these four steps have helped me to remember, follow through, and implement more of my ideas than ever before!

1. Dump.

Whenever an idea comes to me, I simply write it in my notebook {it fits in my purse and goes everywhere with me!} You could also use your phone, scratch paper, sticky notes, a napkin, or anything else that works for you.

I don’t worry about organizing them yet. My main goal is just to get the ideas out of my brain so I don’t have to worry about remembering them anymore.

2. Categorize.

When I have a spare minute, I quickly categorize my ideas with different color highlighters. Some of my categories are: home improvement ideas, recipe ideas, gift ideas, travel ideas, website ideas, financial ideas, and so on.

Just a word of caution — it’s often better to use a few broad categories instead of many specific categories. I’ve learned from experience that too many categories is just as overwhelming as too many ideas!

And if you have ideas that don’t fit into any of your categories, simply create a new category or consider creating a “Miscellaneous” category.

3. Prioritize.

There are MANY different ways to prioritize your ideas — personally, I just number them in the order I want to implement them. Then I cross them off my list when they are complete.

I also like Mandi’s method for organizing ideas with her free printable mind map.

Basically, just decide what ideas are most important to you and what ideas will have to wait until later. Then move on to the next step!

4. Implement.

The whole purpose behind all your ideas is to implement them, right?

Before I started writing and organizing my ideas, I forgot many of them, and rarely ever implemented the ones I actually remembered.

But now that I have all my ideas in writing, they are so much easier to implement — and I love crossing things off my list so I have an added incentive to implement as many ideas as possible!

The notebook method works great for me, but there are so many other great ways to organize thoughts and ideas.

How do you organize your ideas?

Andrea Dekker is a professional organizer and founder of Simple Organized Living. Her goal is to motivate and encourage others to “create their best life” through simplicity and organization. If she’s not working with clients or blogging about clutter, you’ll find her documenting the renovation of her 120-year-old farmhouse over at Farmhouse Love.