?For the record, I’m not a genius. In fact, some days I could swear that I’m about the furthest one could possibly be from genius. Sad news, but you probably aren’t a genius either. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be slapped in the face by strokes of genius from time to time. Trouble is, these infrequent (for me, any way) lighting bolts tend to happen when we’re doing things like taking a shower, eating a plate of barbecued beef ribs with our bare hands or performing open heart surgery – times when you really can’t just drop what you’re doing and get a pen and paper out within the few precious seconds you have before the genius idea goes fluttering away like a cursed, cursed butterfly. It’s no accident that you had the brilliant idea for a Facebook for pandas while you were, say, driving to work. When we’re doing something monotonous that allows us to think while we’re doing it, that little creative elf that lives in each of our heads starts lobbing ideas at us, sometimes fast and furious. The trick, as you have probably already figured out, is capturing them – getting them recorded in some fashion outside of your own thick head so that they can be acted upon later when you’re not landing a 747. Thankfully, technology can help, if you’re willing to get a little creative and absorb some very strange looks from people.
For the shower, we have a couple of options. The first, assuming your shower is made of fiberglass like most showers (at least that I’ve seen), is a set of dry-erase markers. I learned a few years ago that dry-erase markers actually work pretty well on shower walls and wipe off just as easily as if you’d written on an actual dry-erase board. Naturally, you’re going to want to record your idea for a clean-burning fuel somewhere that isn’t directly and consistently molested by the water gushing from the shower head, but it’s a hell of decent idea for naked note-taking. You could also grab yourself a set of AquaNotes waterproof notepads. Not quite as cheap as the markers, but also pretty damn cool if you’re into notebooks and the like.
If you’re eating ribs and your hands are coated in sauce, I’d recommend finding a napkin and using a saucy finger to scrawl something to jog your memory after the hot towels arrive. Brevity is key here.
If your hands are mostly occupied and you have a phone (and the wherewithal to dial it), it’s easy – there are a pantload of services out there that you can call, leave a message and have it transcribed for you: Jott, Dial2Do (or their wicked-sweet Evernote-capable counterpart, Voice2Note) and reQall are a few.
The “performing surgery” dilemma is certainly a tough one, but every single surgery I’ve witnessed (ok, fine, on television) has had one thing in common: lots and lots of people. When the surgeon asks for a specific implement, another faceless aid of some kind hands it to him, quick-style. “Beatrice, be a dear and write this down: ‘Twitter for Show Dogs’”. What’s to stop him from doing that? That’s right: nothing. Note: this also works even if you’re not a surgeon and might be a good drop-in replacement for the earlier suggestion about writing with a finger covered in sauce – particularly if you have an exceptionally attentive server taking care of you at the restaurant. Not as cool, though. But seriously, nothing wrong with asking a stranger to jot a quick note down for you if you’re tied up (in either sense).
Not sure about you, but I’m also pretty good at having awesome ideas as I’m about to fall asleep, which sucks because that means I have to find and affix my glasses, attempt locate the pen and paper that my kids took and hid in the toilet tank, get out of bed, walk to my office, turn on the light, find a pen… You can see how this doesn’t come close to passing the efficiency sniff test. Your best bet is some kind of tiny digital voice recorder that you can keep tucked under your pillow, or perhaps in a drawer or some other place where your small children won’t find it. These are especially cool for people like me who wear (and look fabulous in) glasses, since they don’t require you to see anything once you have the buttons memorized.
We’ve already talked about how to have more ideas, but hopefully these incredibly inspirational suggestions will help you be ready to receive your genius, no matter when it arrives.
Photo by Cayusa