Monday, 3 September 2007

1 Tool For 7 Ways.

I'm going to expand and expound a bit on this lifehack article about 7 ways to recognise opportunity. And I'm going to simplify it, too. As it stands those seven rules can be simplified down, the tools (creative friends, contact, notebook, camera) can be reduced down to just one, maybe two.

One of the major points, made several times, is to write everything down. That's great advice for the steam age, as is carrying a notepad and camera with you everywhere. I always carry a camera in a spare pocket, don't you? And yeah - I carry a steno pad, because that's the smallest you can really go with a notebook and still get an idea to fit on one page rather than 3/4 filling a notebook with one idea, I have HUGE bottomless spare pockets, what do you mean you have a Hugo Boss?

First thing about the paraphenalia is that it's bulky bulky bulky. Second thing, specifically in regard to the notebook, is that eventually your notebook gets - yep, it gets full. And then you put it down and it ends up in the pile of paperwork you stick in a box and put in the garage and that's it - yep, those ideas are now as gone as if you'd never bothered to write them down.

With the camera - are we talking about a film camera here or a digital? Does Steve Olson think there are no such things as rolls of exposed film that get taken to the photo lab years after being taken, that get returned back with a sorrowful shake of the head? Or that there aren't hundreds of camera memory sticks out there that get silently erased and re-recorded without ever getting near a computer or printer? And then of course, those pictures are, yep, gone and will never tickle your memory to life again...

Getting a record of things is definitely important, I've lost track of how many times I get up in the morning and think to myself "that was a great idea for... for... ah bugger! Done it to myself again!" over some thing I had mapped out in my mind the previous evening and which is now gone for good.

Tell me what one tool do most of us have on us all the time, usually has a camera, usually has voice recording, and usually has some form of brief notes? Score bonus points for realising that you're probably sitting within a meter of your mobile phone as you read this!

If there is no voice recording facility, your carrier will generally provide a voicemail service - and there's no law against sending yourself a voicemail...

So if you're one of the lucky 80% of people with a mobile phone with the aforementioned facilities, then you're excused the half kilo steno pad and the battery-chewing "pocket" digital camera.

When you get an idea, record a voice note, or type in a text note if you can't speak right then. Take a picture and associate it with your thoughts. Use the phone - to call your creative friend(s) and discuss it with them.

And remember that now you're down to only four rules - much simpler to remember:

1. Record record record.
Just record anything unusual. Anytime, and where possible right there and then.
2. Contact Contact Contact.
Your friends and contacts are everything. They are your source of inspiration, your sounding board,your counterweight to overly buoyant optimism.
3. Everything is possible.
Nothing is too sacred or too stupid, nothing.
4. You can!
If nothing else, you should now realise that you can do this. You've reduced the extra equipment you need to carry from three extra items (pad, PEN, camera) to one item you already carry anyway. You've reduced the rules from seven down to four, and now that you realise it, you can throw away rule 4 so you've just reduced it down to three rules!

Oh - and I realise that stuff on a phone is just as likely to get recorded over, but at least instead of ending up in the garage in a box, you have all the information in one place. Besides, what with Bluetooth and all, I find it easier to copy stuff off my mobile than to find the card reader and empty the memory card of my pocket camera. At least you don't have to think too hard about where your notes are.

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