Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Start Your Own "Spark File" {Thought Storage}

My morning commute is only 10 miles, and it takes 40 minutes.  It's pretty maddening.  But now Mike works from home, and I get to drive the CR-V which has Bluetooth audio.  And so I've come to enjoy podcasts...

My favorite is RadioLab, but I like it so much that I'm now listening to episodes from 2011!  So I had to find something else to listen to and have gone back to Stuff to Blow Your Mind.  I definitely am not as in to it, but it's giving me something else to listen to. 

This morning I was listening to Steven Johnson:  How We Got to Now.  It talks about innovations and how we got things in our "modern world".  I wasn't too taken in by it, but the one thing that stuck out was when he talked about his SPARK FILE

This is a document that he has been working in for almost ten years.  Whenever he gets an idea or has an interesting thought, he writes it down in the document.  It's not organized, and is now over 70,000 words, which is longer than his longest book.  But WHY?

He is a believer in the idea that great ideas often come from hunches.  A great idea generally doesn't present itself in full form.  Sometimes you need to come back to something to fully develop it.  Or two ideas can make a connection, and then you're off and running.  This is why he is constantly writing down ideas

He said that he comes back to it about every few months and reads the whole thing.  That is where some ideas blend together, become more prominent, or just stay dormant.  His Spark File has lots ideas for books, articles, speaking ideas, etc.  He says that "The key is to capture as many hunches as possible".  You can read more about it here.

I think this is a great idea for anyone to use!  I'm going to start writing down blog post ideas, small business ideas, clever names for blogs/businesses/people, tips that come up at work, vacation ideas, etc.  Even though I don't see myself as an entrepreneur or a business owner, it will be great to read through my Spark File and see if anything new blossoms!  You never know what may come about when you're reading your own creative thoughts. 

Think of it as a dream journal for your conscious hours. 

It might also be cool to read back your file from years ago and see how your mind was brewing up ideas.  Some thoughts just become unimportant because you are focusing on other things at the time.  You never know when the timing might be right and then you're ready to pursue one of your ideas that you wrote down eight months ago! 

ANYONE can do this!  Start a Word document, an Evernote, a physical journal, or whatever you can keep close.  Write down your budding ideas.  Re-read it every few months or every six months.  Take the time to breathe it in and appreciate the corners of your mind that may have ended up on the pages. 

This is something simple that everyone can do.  Use it to better yourself and enjoy it!  I can't wait to get mine started.  Let me know what you think!

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