It sounded a little hokey to me at first. Writing down 10 ideas every morning. I mean, what’s so valuable about ideas.
It was something James Altucher had recommended doing as part of his daily practice. I’ve benefited from reading about his other experiences so I decided to give it a try.
I started writing down 10 ideas every day as part of my morning routine. Right when I get to the office. Before I open my computer.
The ideas are about any one topic…usually marketing ideas for my business, new business ideas, ways to improve my life or business, connections I can make between people in my network, blog post ideas, lists to include within blog posts, ways I could help people, etc.. I write using pen and paper, as shown in the picture above.
My initial skepticism has turned to advocacy as the benefits have been unforeseen and profound. Below are 7 ways I’ve benefited from writing down 10 ideas every day like James Altucher.
1. It Strengthens My Idea Muscle
When I get to around the 7th idea, I can feel my brain start to sweat. Similar to how your body starts sweating when you’re doing the last repetition of a set of bench press. It used to be around the 4th or 5th idea that my brain would start sweating. But since I’ve strengthened my idea muscle, now it’s the 7th or 8th.
Like lifting weights at the gym, pushing yourself to come up with ideas makes you stronger. The benefit of writing down 10 ideas every day is not just the ideas themselves. In fact, at least a couple of my ideas are usually terrible ideas that I will never think about again. One of the biggest benefits is that it has strengthened my idea muscle. And as a result…
2. I Have More Ideas Throughout the Day
The ideas haven’t stopped flowing when I write down my 10th idea, put away my notepad, and open up my laptop. They keep flowing throughout the day.
I find myself thinking of business ideas, marketing ideas, and more, throughout the day. It seems by taking time to go through the process of coming ideas in the morning, it keeps happening throughout the rest of the day.
3. Some of the Ideas Are Really Valuable
(Most) ideas are a dime a dozen…but the best way to come up with ideas that are worth more than a dime is to come up with more ideas.
10 ideas per day x 365 days per year = 3,650 ideas. If just one or two of those are great idea, you can be very successful. If 10-20 of them are “pretty good,” that can move the needle significantly.
By coming up with more ideas, I increase my chances of having good ideas. I don’t execute on all of the ideas, but some of them I do. For example…
4. I Wrote My Own Job Description
I had an idea for a friend that I thought could improve his business. So I gave him the idea. He liked the idea. Now I’m working with him to execute on that idea.
sHe’s become “beta tester” for a business I could provide to many other people.
The next evolution of my 10 ideas practice will be to come up with more ideas for other people, and then send them the ideas. It seems like an amazing way to network. Providing value to people up front instead of asking for their time like everyone else is.
5. Gives Me Clarity in The Morning
I get thousands of emails per day. Everyone is always busy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything and never have time to think about the big picture.
I’ve found it extremely beneficial just to pause and listen to myself think. Time to be proactive instead of reactive, and to think long-term.
Often when I sit down to think about ideas about one topic, I end up having of ideas about another topic. My idea list might be marketing ideas or ways to improve my business, but while I’m writing down those 10 ideas, I’ll start having ideas about other things…like new business ideas, people I should introduce to each other, and ways other people could improve their business.
6. Builds Momentum to Start the Day
Pushing through the sweat and writing down the 10 ideas starts my day off with a win. The small win gives me momentum to start tackling bigger challenges through the rest of the day. I experience the pride of overcoming a small challenge and it re-affirms that I can accomplish larger objectives.
7. It Reminds Me that I’m an Idea Machine
Despite the sweat, I’m able to come up with 10 ideas every single day. 10 ideas per day x 365 days per year = 3,650 ideas pear year. And if I keep coming up with 10 ideas every day for the next 10 years I will have 36,500 ideas.
Coming up with 10 ideas every single days gives me affirmation that I’m an idea machine. That I will never stop being able to come up with ideas. That I will always be able to come up with more ideas. It reminds me that I have endless opportunities to create value.