Keep An Idea Notebook Handy

Idea notebook

Ideas flash into your mind triggered by an inspiration, hitting like lightning.

Good idea or bad, sometimes you don’t get a chance to decide. They leave as quickly as they come.

Who needs to carry an idea notebook?

If you ask “what if?” If you’re comfortable in your environment. If your mind wanders and smashes two or more ideas together unbidden, you’re probably someone who comes up with a lot of random ideas during the course of the day.

They’re here one moment, gone the next kind of like they’re riding a train into the ether.

If you have to have ideas for your writing, art, or anything; or if you just like to have ideas for your writing, art, or anything you do, you need a way to capture them.

A pocket notebook, idea notebook, or daydream journal − whatever you want to call it − can be that tool.

Our world is driven by new ideas; a way to prosper is to get out there and collect them.

If people with ideas during the day are prospectors, a pen and little notebook is the pan.

If you don’t have many of your own ideas, maybe you can piggyback off of somebody else’s. In that case, the idea notebook is useful for you too. Jot down other people’s good ideas when you see them. Such lists can also be made into to-do lists. Be sure to give the other person credit, however. It’s the right thing to do. By taking note of good ideas when you see them you’re more likely to have your own.

It’s a better feeling to have your own ideas, of course. The thrill of creating is sheer joy.

Use your wandering mind to its full advantage.

Forget about using scraps of paper. While recycling in this way is a judicious use of resources and better than nothing, it isn’t organized the way a notebook is. You’re less likely to lose ideas if you keep them in a centralized place. Also, too, it’s better to write on a thicker stack of paper the way a 60-page notebook is organized.

Get yourself a daydream journal, idea book, notebook, or whatever you want to call it. The color doesn’t really matter. Maybe if you put it down you’ll be able to find some colors better than others depending on the background. Maybe you naturally prefer some colors to others. When writing on the covers, sometimes inks of the most common colors can be read more easily..

Maybe you want to write your name on it. Maybe you want to put a title on it. However, you want to set it up doesn’t matter. Probably 90 percent of what’s important is that you have it handy. Keep it in your hip pocket, cargo pocket, purse or wherever is convenient for you. Get in the habit of keeping it around. You’re very likely to find it invaluable. While there’s no scientific way to prove it, just having it handy will probably increase your creativity by a good measure, maybe 50 percent. Without your little notebook, your ideas will come and go like flashes.

No, there’s no scientific study that can back this up. It’s merely common sense.

You can take notes in a smartphone, of course. Some people do. You can type into the smartphone memory. You can take verbal notes too.

It’s still easier to handwrite them, however. It seems quicker. You’ll have an easier time going back and making notes over the notes you’ve made if you handwrite them.

Keep a pen that doesn’t leak handy. You also want one that doesn’t break easy. You’re going to be keeping it in your pocket so that’s absolutely mandatory.

It’s better to have a click pen than a non-click pen. The click pen slides smoothly in and out of your pocket.

Another good thing for a pen for an idea notebook is metal. You’ve going to have a better time of it if the pen offers some resiliency. If the pen breaks in your pocket, you not only lose the pen but you can, in some cases, lose a full day’s worth of ideas. There might be a million-dollar one in the batch. That could be a huge tragedy.

An incident like that might also affect your resolve to take note of the ideas that pop into your head.

That would be really bad. In that case, you’re talking about the ideas you might come up with for a number of days.

Does an idea notebook need to be paper?

No. You can use many different apps on your phone as a place to jot ideas down.

The problem is there are many other things you use your phone for. You’re likely to get distracted by all of the messages, apps, and other things you keep on there.

An idea notebook is, comparatively, distraction free.

Not only that, but like a paper dream journal, you can draw pictures and maps of your idea too. That’s impossible with other idea-recording systems.

Alternately, as with dreams, you can also record your ideas on an index card.

The basic idea notebook

The memo notebook from Mead that measures five by three inches is great for many uses. It fits into many pockets perfectly.

The three-by-five is inexpensive too. I paid 50 cents for mine at a military exchange. If you’re going to be sliding it in and out of your pocket, you’re going to want one that’s wire bound on the side rather than wire bound on the top. The cover and inner pages bend more easily if the notebook is bound on the top.

You’ve got a lot of latitude as to what you could use. The easiest thing is to go ahead and use the one from the store. However, you may enjoy using a notebook with more style, one that’s truly individual. Here’s one you could make from a beer carton.

Here’s another one from a cereal box.

Here are some others you can make as a craft project.

An upgrade to the basic idea notebook

If you’re confident and feeling like your ideas are going to be an upgrade to regular run-of-the-mill ideas you might want to house those ideas in a beautiful leather notebook. Great ideas deserve a great container.

Handmade Leather Journals

A note-taking system

Brief ideas can be noted with a short line or a dot to note a new concept.

Problem. Intervention. Outcome.

If you’re struggling to address a problem, try framing your idea generation. A good way to do this is with the PIO Organizing System. 

Problem: Briefly describe the problem. Spend some time on this because writing it down increases your understanding of problem. Only by understanding it well can you hope to address it well.

Intervention. There is where you note what the idea is; what’s the solution to the problem? Don’t forget to spell out any potential drawbacks to your solution.

Outcome. What do you think the outcome is going to be? What was the outcome?

Entries can just feature problems where you address interventions later. They can just note observations with no problem.

If the thought appeals to you, it’s good to write it down. You never know when you might be able to use it.

Drawings are good too and one big reason why an idea notebook is a lot more powerful than a smartphone recorder or anything else someone might use to try to catch a golden idea.

More benefits of keeping a pocket notebook

You’ll be less likely to forget names and addresses. You’ll have a place to write them readily available.

You’ll be more likely to get necessary tasks done.

You’ll have all of the information in one place.

You’ll have refreshers when it comes time to learn new concepts.

Writing dreams and other thoughts down helps you process the thought, grow, and move on.

If you’re not keeping one, try it out. If you’re not keeping a dream journal, try that out too while you’re at it.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. What this means is that if you click the link and make a purchase, the DRS receives a small commission. Our thoughts and opinions remain our own. 


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