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Let me paint a picture for you. I’m sitting here in front of me while I’m prepping for this episode, and I have spread out all these little pieces of paper. They’re from a journalist notebook, one of those little small ones, about two inches by eight inches. And I have maybe, I don’t know, let’s say, 60 to 100 of these spread out in front of me. I have a big smile on my face getting prepped for this episode right in the outline, and putting everything together because on these pieces of paper are actually the formation of how I started online, how I started my business. And ten-items on each piece of paper.
What is the daily ten-item brainstorm?
I can’t remember where I got the idea, but I just started doing it. Every day, I would sit down and write a question and then brainstorm 10 answers to that question. The reason this is helpful is it helps you become more creative. If you’re really numbers-focused and engineering-focused like I am, being creative is actually a difficulty. It’s hard to do. And this exercise will help you be more creative. Also, help you find more opportunities and see more opportunities in the things that are going on around you every day.
More than that, it helps you identify and build a habit of identifying, asking and answering important questions about your life, about your business, about where you want to go, about the things that you want to see.
More importantly than that, every month you’ll have 300 ideas or more. Because you’ll do these every day, these 10-item brainstorms. And when you go back through to review your ideas, years down the road, you might have a big smile on your face like me, because it’s funny to see what was going on in your head.
The power of the written word
The last thing I want to note on why it’s important, is just writing these things down. A lot of them will just magically happen and I know it sounds kind of funny. I read the book,[Affiliate] “The Luck Factor” by Brian Tracy, mentioned if you write down your goals, you’re more likely to accomplish them. And if you don’t write the list down, then you won’t have done a lot of them.
There are four steps to this daily ten-item brainstorm. The first is to buy a dedicated notebook. Don’t do this in your journal that you’re writing in every day or some other notebook. Buy a dedicated notebook, like the small journalist ones. Two-inch by eight-inch can be easily carried around; they don’t take up a lot of space. And they’re perfect for writing 10 ideas. Actually, if you split it into two columns, they’re perfect for writing 20 ideas.
Step two, keep that notebook where you work. If you work at a desk every day, keep it on your desk. And if you travel, then you can also keep it in your bag
Step three is to write down a question. If there’s something you’ve been considering, something that’s been bothering you, something you’re curious about, write it down. It doesn’t have to be business-related. It might be personal. Write it down.
The fourth step is to generate 10 answers and write those down as well.
Buy a notebook.
Keep it where you work.
Every day, the first thing you do is to write down a question.
Generate 10 answers to that question.
And if you really want to have your brain working overtime, you can go ahead and generate 10 more answers after that. By the time you get to 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, your brain will really be smoking, trying to come up with answers. But that’s where you get some of your best material from.
These brainstorms really played a key role in laying the groundwork for GradBlogger and DustSafetyScience. Both were ideas that I wrote down in my own brainstorming sessions. Until I reviewed my own notes, I didn’t even realize I wrote these things. I didn’t make a plan based on them. I just wrote them out, and they kind of happened.
It’s also how I came up with a lot of my business strategies, like content curation and repurposing, that we talked about on episode 23 of the podcast. Things like doing literature reviews like we talked about on episode 11 of the podcast, and that’s where I came up with the random topic blogging idea for episode eight. So, all these things I talk about on GradBlogger came from this daily habit of doing this ten-item brainstorm. That’s how powerful it is.
Your brainstorming sessions will also reflect the phase of your life and business. Looking back you may find the sessions differ from one period of growth to the next, and that your questions and answers reflect that growth.
Which is another reason to keep a record of these sessions. You’re actually leaving a legacy when you do this.
Don’t leave these lists as just brainstorms.
Eventually, you’ll need to create action steps. Consider reviewing your lists on a regular basis. Put a box around the one thing that you’re committing to doing to move your life forward for that next week. So, that might be a helpful exercise to create those action steps.
Do this exercise every day. Ask yourself a question and write down 10 answers to that question. I guarantee you’ll have a measurable and meaningful impact on your life, on your business and all the changes you put in the world.
Resources from this episode
Using random topic blogging as your first content machine | GBP008
Using three-minute papers to drive traffic to your site (The Content Machine series) | GBP011
Content curation and repurposing (The Content Machine Series) | GBP023
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