I am currently enrolled in a course that is emotionally empowering, intellectually stimulating and profoundly life changing. Every piece of reading, conversation and learning provokes a hundred more questions and I see possible links and applications everywhere.
Since I live on my ideas and inspirations, this is a good thing. But how to keep hold, use, store, track and file all these marvellous, possibly connected ideas and thought streams?
If you have ideas that you’d like to use one day or next week, here are some ways I have discovered of keeping your notions together while you are in motion.
I use a beautiful notebook and write everything in it with a lovely fountain pen: Phone numbers, meetings, conversational records, ideas, snippets of overheard chat on trains, poems, to do lists – the lot. I don’t even try to remember anything, I just write it down.
Then every two to three days I go through, run a line through what I have accomplished and tear the page out and throw it away. The filled pages get coded, torn out and filed where they belong. I go though a few notebooks that way but I lose less info than I used to.
This application is an online filing system where you can store anything and find it fast using your own tagging system. You can save web clippings, pictures, articles, anything digital really, and then find it again quickly because of the tags you attach to it.
This search and sort feature helps get all kinds of things into some kind of order. And Evernote syncs with all your devices, saving even more time.
I don’t always have time during the workday to look at all the fascinating articles, listen to the podcasts and watch the videos that people tell me about or that come to me via newsletters and LinkedIn.
So I save them to Pocket, the handy app that stores websites and articles for you to read offline, and then I access them on the train (when I’m not listening and writing down your conversation in my notebook – see notebook paragraph).
4. Blogs or Twitter
Your blog or your Twitter account can be more than a way to share your reflections and latest activity. It can become a place that records your progress, your learning, and your journey from one understanding to another as you update it.
Just think about it. Even a weekly blog of two to three paragraphs could be all the research you need to start a book – 52 sections of it.
5. Voice memos
When I am travelling (although not driving of course) and can’t access a type-pad or pen and pencil, I use voice memos on my phone to record sound bites. I go through them when I check my notebook and remember all the bright and not so bright ideas I may have had when I was dozing, getting off the tram or waiting in a foyer for someone.