Why You Should Write Down Your Bad Ideas

4/7/2016 |

So you’ve just written a couple of ideas down for a book you are currently working on, an essay you’re writing, or even a report that is soon to be due? However, you have finally come to the conclusion that they are bad ideas and you must get rid of them, immediately. What if I told you that’s a BAD idea? Leave them be, take a step back and breathe. Not everything that seems to be bad in the beginning, turns out to be useless… 

Are they really bad ideas? 

First and foremost, you need to ask yourself, are these really bad ideas? Don’t be too quick to assume that your ideas are inadequate, and do not be rash about getting rid of them as soon as possible. You need to remove yourself from being too close from the ideas and let someone else have a read over them. Do not make a quick informed decision based on your own judgement in these type of scenarios.

Bad ideas for more productivity

Provoke new ideas 

Once you are definitely sure your ideas are bad, still continue to write them down as they may provoke new ideas and responses. You can use them to fuel new ideas and generate other possibilities of good ideas, because it normally takes many bad ideas before you eventually reach a good one. Look upon them as stepping stones towards reaching the good ideas. In addition, bad ideas are better than no ideas because it means you are able to develop from them, as opposed to being clueless.

Have a clear mind

Write down your ideas – every single one – because it’s important to always clear your mental stack so you can make room for new ideas and strengthen your ideation habits. This will enable you to create room for better ideas, since you won’t be focusing on your bad ones. It addresses a clear distinction between the ideas you want and the ones you want to avoid, and a great way to document your progress.

Bad ideas into good ideas


Okay, so perhaps your ideas are bad for what you are currently working on. But, who says they are bad for future endeavors? They may prove to be useful later on down the line when a new project comes along. We live in a fast changing world, and no doubt the everyday perception about life will change too, which could result in the need for new ideas to circulate and accommodate the changes – This is where your ‘bad’ ideas come in!


Theoretically, you assume these ideas are bad but you haven’t actually tested them out. Therefore, how can you be so sure that it will all fall to pieces? Turn your bad ideas into workable business ideas, which does not necessarily mean it has to solely apply to business ideas alone, but it can be ideas in general. As a result, you should remember that those ideas can always be adapted and improved in the future.

Finally, in the words of David Allen, ‘Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.’ For that reason, whether they are good ideas or bad ideas, make sure you write them down so you give your mind a chance to be creative and think of new ones.

If in doubt, write it out!

By Rosie To 



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