I was recently watching an episode of The Mythbusters (yes, I am an unapologetic and rabid fan) where Adam Savage – Mythbuster and cohost with Jamie Hyneman (the hirsute Hoosier) – was intensely recording data from one of their typically unique experiments (it related to the possibility of Jack and Rose surviving on a wooden plank left behind in the detritus of the Titanic, as I recall). In the middle of capturing the information, Adam looked up at the camera, flashed one of his signature impertinent grins and espoused the following:
“Wow!” – I cried out immediately. “What a great quote!” And, is often the case with my unusual thought processes, I found a corollary between this insight and endeavors in our careers and lives. Here is why I say “Write It Down.”
Writing it down makes it real.
Experts tell us that journalizing, committing thoughts to paper, recording ideas and impressions is extremely helping in focusing, working through alternatives, reviewing, revising and considering options. When it makes the trip from between your ears to appearing immediately before your eyes, it becomes more genuine.
Writing it down makes it active.
Now you have something to look at, to argue with, to challenge and revise, retrofit, even throw away and start over. As it bounces around in your mind, it is more likely to stay in the subjective realm. That “thought” staring back at you on a piece of paper or on a screen challenges you to do something with it.
Writing it down makes it measurable.
You’ve made it real. You’ve made it active. Now you can take action and see if it works. When our thoughts remain our thoughts (for most of us, at least), it’s difficult if not impossible to tell whether they will work (or are working) or not. Write it down with a number, a timeline, a date, some kind of benchmark to revisit what you’ve done and decide whether or not to continue or, if necessary, write something else down and go with that!
So the next time you have an idea, formulate a plan, consider a course of action…. Write It Down!