I love using many mediums for my creativity, from yarn, to frosting, to paint, to construction, if only there were enough hours in the day! I am absolutely lost if I don't have something to make lists with! I have pads of paper, post-its, binders and even a list app on my phone for tracking all of my ideas.
I find the key is to set a schedule for creativity. I realize you can't predict when the next stroke of genius is going to hit, but if you can quickly jot it down (so as not to forget) so that you can come back to it when you have time alotted, it makes things SO much easier! With 3 kids, a full time job and doing the books for our other company, schedule is not an option. There are deadlines and homework and meetings that seem to make themselves priority, make sure to make time for the creativity!
I don't know about you, but I (because of my day job) think best on grid paper, so that is where most of my patterns start. Do what works for you! Some doodle with X's and O's, K's and P's, etc, etc. They all go into my 3-ring binder and (pending an even better stroke of genius) get worked on on Wednesday and Friday nights after the kids go to bed.
What part of your creative process do you struggle with the most?