Ideas, dreams and oh, so many, opportunities come into your life each day. Many times they take paper form: An article in a magazine, the flier for an event, an advertisement clipped from a newspaper or even a note you've scribbled down.
But where do they belong?
Where can you put them so that they won't get lost?
Where can the ideas stay safe until you are ready?
Do you toss them on a pile of other ideas? Sweep them into a drawer with your other dreams? Or do you have a system to access and review those opportunities routinely to see if the time is ripe to try them out?
Start an IDEA Box.
A portable file box with 12 hanging folders labeled January through December. When you find an article of interest or an idea for your business, even a great vacation opportunity, put it in your IDEA Box. You can put it in the next month's folder, you can choose to file it a couple of months away, and sometimes you can give yourself a whole year to think about it. Then, each month check the current file to see what possibilities have ripened for you. You may toss some ideas because they no longer interest you; some dreams you might re-file as you're not ready to make a decision yet; and sometimes you might pull out a few opportunities, ready to act on them.
I recommend Evernote or OneNote for an electronic version of your IDEA Box. Just clip electronic ideas and opportunities from the web, your email, or create a note from scratch. Save them to your monthly notebooks and take them anywhere your laptop, smartphone or Kindle can go. You can even add photos, audio notes, and webcam notes.
Check out 3 Evernote features I love.
One more idea: I have my husband using Pinterest for his travel and vacation ideas. When he comes across a place he wants us to go, he pins it and maps it using their mapping tool. He can share, or he can keep it private. It's up to him.
I suggest a similar 12 folder system for bills and a 10 folder system for taxes.
Check out Build in Your File Maintenance.
I've moved this blog to my new site and updated it. I've moved the comments as well:
MM: Love this idea. How do you use the folder labeled “Contacts?”
SH: I use the CONTACT folder for those opportunities, possibilities, and someday-maybe contact information. If I come across a program that I might want to partner with or offer a presentation to – I drop the contact information here (if I haven’t dropped it another month’s folder). Or a business card of someone that I’m not necessarily going to remember to look for (and again haven’t dropped it in another month’s folder). If it’s a contact that I’m not sure I’ll remember I have and want to check back every so often, then I’ll drop it here.