The Art of the Brainstorm Book

One of the career strategies I've used over the last year is one I call the Brainstorm Book.  It's a way to help stay on your life path, aim for your career goals, and keep inspired.  Though it takes a bit to explain, it's something I want to share as it's been extremely useful to me.

It's easier to describe the steps then describe the philosophy, so without any additional delay, let's go.


FIRST:  Purchase a notebook that you can keep in your purse, knapsack, briefcase, etc.  I usually go with something relatively small, 7 by 5 inches.

SECOND: Make sure a pen is always kept in the book so you don't have to look for one.

THIRD: Keep it with you as much as possible.

FOURTH: When you have a Great Idea, write it down in the Brainstorm Book.  How do you know it's a Great Idea?  It's one of those ideas that speaks to your life/career/goals so deeply that you can see it and feel it and know it's Great – with a capital letter.

FIFTH: Review the book every few weeks to see which Great Ideas inspire you and may be worth doing.  This helps you find new things to do, ways to improve old ones, and more.

SIXTH: Never throw the books away unless you review them thoroughly and store the best ideas elsewhere.  Keep getting new ones.

Doing a Brainstorm Book gets you in the habit of asking what else you can do in your life, in your career, in your ambitions.  As you put down and review items you develop the habit of thinking how you can accomplish your goals and manage your life and career.  It makes visualizing the future and getting inspired a habit.

The Brainstorm book also helps develop the habit of thinking about your goals and keeping them in mind.  The book as well as the activity of writing down ideas reminds you of the dreams you have, as well as the ones you're writing down.

I have noticed some people aren't sure what to put in a Brainstorm Book – and I usually advise "when in doubt, put an idea in."  But a quick guide to an idea that's worth going in:

1) It fits your career AND life goals (which in theory should be the same)
2) It's something that you can instinctively believe you can do (even if, indeed, you'd have to make a lot of changes or sacrifices) and could even start on in a short time.
3) It intuitively strikes you as a great idea, one you like, one that's inspiring.

In time, you learn what works for you.  Using a Brainstorm Book is a skill.

So go on, go to the store, give it a try for a few months.  I think you'll be pleased.

– Steve Savage

  • I think having a place to store your ideas is great. However, these days I prefer high tech methods. For instance, a device I have on me at all times is my Cel Phone. It certainly is not the fanciest of phones, but it’s more then capable of taking text notes and even short audio notes. You just have to transfer this somewhere more practical for better organization.
    A few months back I installed OneNote on my desktop. With this program I already see a rise in my productivity at home. I have notes for my Japanese study, game ideas and even ideas for blog posts. You also don’t need to worry about stuff like page length or what section you write in, since it is so easy to move and organize information. I even have this all shared over the network so my brother can also contribute his ideas if he wanted to.
    Either way, old fashion or digital notebook, cheers for staying organized!

  • I’ve heard good things on One Note. My boss uses it.
    I like to combine sources. My Brainstorm book is physical so it can go anywhere and survive things a computer couldn’t. All my other work, organizing and planning, is on a computer. I actually use text files since they’re simple and easy to cart anywhere and into any application.

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