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Surprisingly Simple Solution for Storing Surprises

Recently I wrote a post about a simple technique for enhancing your creativity that I learned from reading the book Creativity by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  In a nutshell 1. Be surprised by something every day, 2. Surprise someone everyday, 3. Write both down and chronicle them over time.

I thought it might be wise to share my system for collecting this information, as it is very simple yet quite effective.  I started by using google docs to create a web form.  To do this, just go to google docs and select “Form” from the New tab.  You can also open a spreadsheet and create a form from there. In the form I ask two questions.  What surprised you today?  Who did you surprise and how?

Once saved, I then emailed this form from google docs to my gmail account.  I use the embed option to place the form directly in the body of the email.    Once the email is in my inbox, I opened it, and used the “Create a quick link” function from Gmail labs.  The quick link to the blank form is now permanently located on the left of my screen, a little below the standard inbox section.  So with one simple click I can pull up the form, which I am reminded to do by seeing it right there on the screen.  I also created a reminder in my google calendar so that I make certain to remember to update this daily.    Now all I do is go open my gmail, click the link to the form, complete the two questions, and hit submit.  The results are then dumped directly into a spreadsheet, which is stored online.  The responses are time stamped, ensuring that I know when the idea was submitted.  This makes it very simple to search, organize, and track my thoughts. Just that easy.  Hope you found this to be surprisingly helpful to you.