We have all had brilliant thoughts and ideas. The problem is that short of a perfect memory our ideas and thoughts are passing things. They come and then they quietly leave our minds before we have realized they have gone.
I have read on the Internet a few times that our minds are like a computer with limited space. When our minds are full older ideas and thoughts are either archived, making it more difficult for us to get access to them. Another problem when our minds are full is that we may loose ideas altogether.
Capturing thoughts allows for us to keep them. Capturing also gives us a chance to define our thoughts, and to process them into our productivity system.
When writing an early thought down you can better define, and to refine it. This gives us a chance to define and refine our thoughts.
When we capture our thoughts we can process them into our productivity system. This allows appointments to not be forgotten, and to remember writing ideas, or to secure any number of other ideas.
There are many tools we can use to capture ideas. Some rely on voice recordings, some rely on text entry into an electronic capture system, and some rely on paper, or other writing surfaces in various forms. Each of these systems have advantages and disadvantages.
Voice recorded systems
- A voice recorder
- Cell phone voice recorder
- Mini cassette recorder
Electronic text entry system
- Google Docs
- Word documents
- Note taking applications for computers, phones, or tablets
- Text editors for computers, tablets, or phones
- Hipster PDA (hPDA)
- Pocket Briefcase
- Moleskine Accordion and Index Cards
- Disc Bound Notebooks
- Spiral Bound Notebook
- Moleskin Notebooks
In choosing a system to use for capturing ideas make it ubiquitous in your life. Your capture tool should go where you go. When you go to bed at night put it by your bed. It should go to the store, and work. Your capturing system may be more than one tool. You may have a notebook at work, at home, and use the voice recorder on your phone when you are out and about. Make the tools fit you, do not try to fit yourself to the tools.
Remember that when we start a new productivity habit that slip ups can occur. The trick is to discover what went wrong, review your process, and then refine it. Sometimes you will need to add a new tool, or retool your process and start again.