At work you may come up with ideas, but lack the time or concentration to expand on them. There is a method you can use on the weekend, away from the distractions of work that will allow you to work on these ideas and also come up with some great new ideas.
Brainstorming is a technique of gathering large numbers of ideas. Usually the ideas are aimed at solving a specific problem and done in a group environment. Individual brainstorming is done by yourself and is the technique involved here.
Mind mapping is similar technique that is typically a graphical representation of your thoughts. You can use mind mapping in place of brainstorming if it works better for you. The concept is the same and both are techniques for getting words and ideas out of your mind and on to paper.
Brainstorming on the weekend is very productive. You are removed from the distractions of the workplace which will allow you to concentrate better. You are more relaxed and the ideas can flow better in an environment outside of the workplace .
Weekend brainstorming can help you:
- Get ready for the week ahead
- Do short-term and long-term strategic planning
- Improve a process or develop a new one
- Come up with new ideas to improve yourself, your team and your company
- Help you organize your ideas into a workable plan
You can use this method as a mind dump of ideas or if you can use it to work on a specific problem.
Using Free Writing
Free writing is a writing technique where you write continuously without regard to grammar, spelling, corrections or topic. You set aside a specified period of time, say 10-15 minutes and turn your mind loose. It is a good method to use when doing weekend brainstorming since you can get a lot of ideas down in a short period of time.
You can use pen and paper or electronic media such as a word processor, spreadsheet or note taking software such as Evernote (free!) or Microsoft OneNote. Each has advantages, such a spreadsheet makes it easy to come back and sort and classify your thoughts. Use whatever feels comfortable to you.
Try and keep your mind moving during the specified period of time. Don’t consider if an idea is valid when free writing. You can review later and pick out the ideas that show promise. It takes some getting used to, but once you do it a few times you will get the hang of it.
Organize Your Ideas
Once your free writing session is over step away and come back to them later. This allows you to clear your mind of all the ideas you just wrote down. When you come back to your ideas you want to review them and organize them.
Your free writing has created rough ideas that you now need to pull them out and polish them. Scan for ideas that seem to have merit and are worth exploring further. At this point you have two options. You can scan your ideas and organize them into lists or you can pick a promising idea and begin to expand on it.
After you have organized or picked an idea write it on a separate sheet of paper or another tab in a spreadsheet or note taking software. Evernote and OneNote at designed for tasks such as these. Once again use the free writing technique to expand on your idea writing down as many thoughts as possible.
When you are done come back and polish your writing, filling in the blanks until you have a good draft of your idea and what you want to do with it. Now move on to another idea if you feel like it or come back to it later. This is one of the benefits of weekend brainstorming. You have the ability to work on it when you like.
Many Uses and Benefits
Weekend brainstorming has many uses and benefits. This same technique can be used not only for work, but for your personal life, your home life or any area that you want to use it in. It can be done at any time, in any place on any day, not just the weekend.
Use a pocket list to write down those great ideas you have at work when you do not have time to expand on them. Take them home for a brainstorming session. Don’t let them be forgotten by the end of a hectic day at work.
You can keep copies of each brainstorming session and come back to them later for further review. When you use note taking software such as Evernote or OneNote you can keep individual tabs for work, personal life and home. They are organized and easy to expand on when you have the time.
I think you will be surprised at the great ideas you can come up with using this method. It is a great way to take all of those great ideas and put them to work.