Organize Your Ideas

file foldersWe hear a lot about how to organize our time and how to organize our space, but what about organizing our ideas? As a former academic who’s had to organize literally years’ worth of research, I’m fairly obsessed with organizing my ideas.

So I was pretty impressed with the “three files” system that creative catalyst Scott Belsky outlined in the September issue of Entrepreneur magazine.

In order to push our ideas into the world successfully, he writes, we need to address three types of information:

  1. Action Steps
  2. Back-burner Items
  3. References

So, for each of the ideas you want to implement, set up a corresponding file.

File the Action Steps as a separate category. It records discreet tasks that start with verbs–as in “Buy a domain name.”

Collect the Back-burner Items in a central location in order to review them regularly. They are tangential ideas that may not be mission-critical right now but could become Action Steps at a later date.

References (articles, notes, and other background) get filed loosely, for a search later, when needed.

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