5 Painless Ways to Come Up With Your Best Ideas

Here are the top lifestyle hacks to generate great ideas.

Welcome back for another Personal Brand Brief! Today I’m sharing some of my favourite ways to generate great ideas. Join 17,300+ other founders and marketers getting this content sent straight to their inbox: subscribe here.

It’s summer vacation. You’re travelling, you’re out on your boat (or wishfully watching people who are out on their boat)—you’re in the summer dream state.☀️

The perfect place to start ideating. Ready to let your best ideas come to you?

#1: Movement Outside

For me, I most commonly get my best ideas while running or biking. 

There’s often a subconscious mental trade-off with going outside or working out, that it’s pulling you away from what’s “important.” 💻 But I’ve actually found that most of my lightbulb moments come when I’m outside, like strolling the beach and enjoying the sun. 

💪Idea hack: create a rhythm once a day a few times a week to get outside for a run, bike, walk, swim, unicycle...

Sometimes if I’m out on a jog, I literally have to stop and text myself a newsletter subject line or send a new idea to a client. I think it’s because moving our bodies allows our minds to relax.🧠

#2: Post-Work Rituals

Another time ideas flow for me is when I’m post-work: eating, winding down for the night, in a reflection state. During this time I don’t usually have a lot on the go. It’s a pre-boredom, post-busyness spot for my mind to work in a relaxed way. 

Duncan Wardle, ex-innovation and creativity at Disney, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review on creativity and shares the science behind how being in a no-pressure mindstate boosts ideas:

“We’re constantly under pressure at work, and we often hear ourselves say, “I don’t have time to think!” The moment we relax during our commute, though, the big ideas just pop into our heads.”

💪Idea hack: Have an idea capture notebook available after work. Drop down those ideas and tasks... for the next morning.

#3: Storytelling

I love the moments in life spent with people I care about, like hanging out at the family cabin for the weekend or kayaking with a friend. 

These natural connections allow us to reframe our work.

When people ask you about your current projects and you share what you’re working on, you learn where your gaps are. You also learn what makes their eyes light up. 👀 Pay attention to both.

💪Idea hack: Share what you’re working on with someone else. Get their feedback and write down where you notice gaps and eyes-light-up moments as you tell your story.

#4: Presenting

The reason I love doing podcasts, panels, and public talks is because of the flood of new questions, ideas, and storytelling that comes from it. Capture by recording or getting Q&A provides new insights to explore and provides new insights for me to explore based on what the audience is asking.

For example, this year I had the opportunity to provide a workshop to the Homie marketing team, one of the largest real estate companies in the US, after I was tagged in the comments of the VP of Marketing's post on LinkedIn. Matt and I connected and the rest is history.

It was a reminder of how our world keeps moving toward online connectivity, where it’s important to build an online brand to pre-validate yourself for opportunities with people you’ve never even met!

💪Idea hack: Get a copy of the recording at your next presentation (or self record) and watch it back to see what resonated with people in the chat.

#5: Social Media Feeds

Social media fires me up because the barriers of entry are low—anyone can jump on and start learning!

LinkedIn, Twitter, and newsletters I’m subscribed to are examples of this. They’re free, relevant, and easy to consume.⚡️

I curate my channels so I’m constantly getting signals and ideas. One of my best sources of getting ahead of the curve on topics like the Twitter algorithm, CMOs needing to be thought leaders, or the future of the LinkedIn platform. 

If you curate your social well, the little nudges of ideas and inspiration from thought leaders that you care about will give you a continual surge of good ideas.

💪Idea hack: Start following three thought leaders in a niche area you’re curious about to gain first mover advantage.

📲 ACTION BYTES 

  • If you’re unwinding right now and enjoying summer, don’t lose the good ideas that come to you! Write them down or send an email to yourself to address in the fall.

  • What’s your favourite method for capturing ideas? Let me know!

💡RIFF OF THE DAY

If you’re looking for a cool visual tool to capture and dissect ideas? Check out Miro, the online whiteboard platform, for free.

Thanks for reading! I’m excited to hear about the ideas that spark from this brief… if you get some good ones, let me know.

 Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

 ✌🏻 Joel

📱 Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Courses

P.S. Let me know your top place or process for coming up with ideas in the comments. I’m always down to try something new!