The problem with having technology at our fingertips is that there’s too much of it. There are countless apps available to log everything from steps to your innermost thoughts. But what its the best way to capture your next great idea?
Everyone works differently, so there is no one way fits all solution. Once you know your documentation style (die-hard digital, traditionalist, combo, etc.) it’s best to whittle down your method to two or less and get in a practice of using them.
Here are some ideas for herding the stream of ideas that come to you, any time of day:
FOR 'THE DIGITALIST'
This is the original notetaking app. Apple has added a lot of great new features since it’s early days (picture add-ins, tables, changeable text, list-making, search feature, etc.) and it remains my go-to app for first jotting down an idea.
For note-taking, Evernote is queen. A supped-up version of Apple’s Note app, you can meticulously organize your late-night thoughts and even turn them into action items, add pictures, use your own handwriting, and add tags.
Adobe Sketch or Autodesk Sketchbook
When words fail, I use Adobe Sketch. From sketching out a web design hat comes to me to getting inspiration from nature, my sketches are another way to transform my ideas into reality.
If you’re an Android user and very visual, this is a great app for mapping out your ideas and seeing how they connect.
Make a recording
This is my favorite method for when an idea comes to me late at night. You know how it goes. You've been awakened from a dream that's left you inspired. Rather than fumble around in the dark for pen and paper or eke out lines of text in your note app, the voice recording feature on your phone will keep you in just enough of a lucid state to fall asleep. Extra points for people who use this app while in the car rather than texting!
FOR 'THE TRADITIONALIST'
To call someone who bullet journals an enthusiast is an understatement. For devotees, there is an entire website filled with tips and how-tos on bullet journaling. It’s also the closest to a lasting document you can create to store your ideas. I’d stay that’s a win.
Stickie notes were invented in the 70s to mark the pages of a church hymnal. Today, these magical pieces of paper are all you need to visually and tangibly organize your thoughts. I once designed an entire website on the wall with stickies, but no pressure.
Small notebook or pad of paper
It doesn’t get more old-school than this. A legal pad or something smaller will do. I once knew a man who carried a tiny composition book in his breast pocket. He had a collection that lined his office wall.
Whether bulletin, chalk or eraser, the beauty of the board is that it takes up no desk space. You can customize with stickies, pins, or even magnets in some cases. Not nearly as permanently as other solutions, but great for visually organizing your thoughts.
The method that works for me, Apple Notes to Bullet Journal, might not work for you. Try a few out and see which ones stick. Combine a couple if you need to. Once you figure out your method and regularly use it, I guarantee that you’ll notice an uptick of productivity and a boost in your flow.