Have you ever had an idea go into your head then disappear the next moment? Later on you think about the idea and regret not writing it down or have difficulty recalling the details. I have found that often, when I think of something, only a few minutes later, it can disappear in the blink of an eye. I have become convinced that this happens to everyone.
The lesson is that you should record your ideas very quickly. You might forget that idea in the blink of an eye. I find that the most unconventional ideas disappear the quickest. Perhaps there is a coincidence there. The issue is that good ideas happen when we least expect them. The greatest ideas do not always happen when we are carefully brainstorming, it is often during a time when we are not expecting to think of something unique.
Searching around, Richard Branson wrote a very similar post. Apparently, Mr. Branson carries around notebooks to always remember and in extreme cases, resorted even to writing on his passport. I suspect that Richard Branson has learned the hard way how quickly great ideas can disappear. Well, kudos to him for a lesson learned. I doubt he will be repeating that mistake.
You too can learn from his mistakes. In this day and age, I would argue that smartphones are good for this purpose. People carry their phones everywhere in this day and age. It has like our keys and wallet become another companion. Sure you may not be able to type as quickly as on a computer (although with applications like Swiftkey, it is pretty fast), but so long as you can get the basic idea down.
Later on, you will. have time to think the idea over. You may think of it as a great idea or perhaps afterwards, you will wonder what you were thinking. The key is that you do not have time to act on your idea, remember you idea, and to reflect on it. The reason is because very few things get stored permanently into our long-term memory. We need to write to remember and later to get the details. It does not have to be in great detail, just the important key points. You will want to flesh out the details later. In fact, with just a few points, you will be able to recall the details anyways.
In my current set of drafts, I had several posts for ideas on what I would like to write that I am planning to flesh out. Some of these ideas may never be posted, shared, or tried out, but thinking about them is part of what makes writing ideas so important. I wrote them down though to look carefully at what I wrote though and to think it over later. Not all your ideas are going to work, but can you really afford to lose the ones that do work out well?
The important thing is to just remember – write it down. Otherwise, you may learn this one the hard way.