Capturing on the go

Last week a wrote about having too many ideas that pull you in different directions and effectively block you form getting your work done. This week I wanted to have a brief look a capturing ideas on the go. Once we’re removed from the bustle of office, from the constant interruptions, emails, calls etc. and go for a walk, a run, have a shower it’s quite often that we find a stream of ideas coming, new project start to flow. What can you do to make sure that you don’t loose them?

There is a number of different ways you can capture your thoughts while out a about. I personally tend o rely on these three tools:

Smartphone

I have my smartphone nearby all the time, I rarely leave the house without it. This means I can use the likes of Evernote or Remember the Milk to capture my thoughts as soon as they appear. Whether it’s an idea for a blog post, something I would like to buy, check on the web or do, I can take a note or picture of it and send it straight into my inbox.
To speed things up and reduce navigating menus and apps I set up widgets to capture my ideas. I have one that opens up a new note in Evernote and one for new task in Remember the Milk. Just these two tools make it very quick and easy to take a note of almost anything. The stumbling block that I have from time to time is that I’m not able to type fast enough on my phone to grab that thought quickly and I lose parts of it. Custom keyboard like Swiftkey is something I need look at soon.

Notebook

If I’m going somewhere and I have a backpack with me I will make sure that my current notebook is in it. I tend to use one for couple of months and once it’s full pick another one. If I’m capturing something using a notebook it’s most likely a blog post idea that is nicely formed. I use to jot down some drawings, diagrams and sketches of mind maps. Quite often, once I’m done, I snap a picture of a page and send it straight to Evernote so I have a digital record of it. Why not use an app from the get go? I simply like to think this way and a combination of words, handwriting and simple drawing really works for me.

Once I’ve processed pages with notes and ideas I make sure that I mark them accordingly. I tend to cross off the whole page or draw a thick line on the bottom and write processed. This helps me focus only on those pages that are new and should be looked at the rest remains as reference or archive.

Scraps of paper

This is my least favorite method of capturing on the go. I only use it when the other two are not available which is very rare. The good thing about this tool is that it’s abundantly available. if all of a sudden you’re hit with a genius idea you can capture it whether it’s a restaurant, coffee shop (the proverbial napkins come to mind) your local garage, shop or other place. Even old receipts can be used for that just flip them on th back and start writing. The reason I don’t like it as it’s messy a messy solution. You need to make sure that you put those scraps of paper into your inbox that you check all 15 pockets of your winter jacket and your briefcase  Scraps are easy to lose or misplace and if you mind is chasing another thought chances are you will forget to empty your pockets and those brilliant moments will be forever forgotten.

I prefer to use less dramatic tools and always have my phone or notebook so there are only three places for me to review my Evernote inbox, Remember the Milk inbox and pages of my notebook.

What’s your favorite method of capturing ideas? Please share in the comments.

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