Storing ideas is an ever evolving challange. It’s almost a decade that I’ve been using Evernote to store my notes, and have a system where all my ideas I ever collected reside in a couple app spaces, that I regularly access and review. Storing notes is a process that is useless, unless you occasionally go through them, and try to act on them. Use this article as a guide on how to make the most out of your ideas and how to store them.
If you are someone that is into internet marketing or any other form of web publishing, than you are definitively into writing and creating quality content. In order to achieve this, we are always hungry for high quality ideas and information on which we are going to write and talk about. If you don’t write them down, you will eventually forget them and never put your energy into something that could be valuable to do.
In this article I will cover how I am getting ideas for articles, how I store them and how I organize them. Be mindful of your ideas, they are something that is floating around, but if we don’t take action in writing them down, we will loose them. Many ideas, can merge with other ideas of ours and make new and better ideas when combined together, make sure to keep them at your disposal, than time is on your side.
So how do you get ideas? I spend a lot of time on the internet searching for high quality information and while I learn new things I get ideas. But instead of surfing the web aimlessly I decided to focus my efforts by organizing and consolidating what I am reading. By keeping your reading content organized, you stay focused on your thoughts and subject. Best tool for staying focused on subject is Feedly. What I love about it, is flexibility it offers. It lets you organize your RSS feeds, into one streaming platform, something similar to your Facebook newsfeed. I have a couple of important tips, when RSS Reading:
- When you find article that you would like to read, don’t stop to read it, open it in new window, and save it for later, this way, you will keep your mind focused on figuring out what articles you want to read for that day. You can only read as much as your time allows you to. You want to make sure that you are reading what’s most important to you and not the first thing that poped up on your Google reader. I like to open around 10 new tabs for 10 articles I read, no matter how big my list is. This makes my brain selective and shuts down information that aren’t that important.
- USE FOLDERS – Google Reader lets you organize your RSS feeds by folders. This is by far most useful tool at your disposal and if you use it properly, you will get to use it to it’s fullest.
- Share useful articles with your friends – if you found something that interests your friend, don’t be shy and send it to his email, they will be grateful for your share.
- If you are using Google Chrome, there is this wonderful extension that lets you automatically subscribe to some new and interesting thread, it’s called RSS Subscription Extension. I will keep brief on getting the ideas, 2 more things tha t inspire me is using Twitter and Facebook lists in order to organize information streams. Getting to many different informations on different topics gets me into ADD (attention deficit disorder). So I like to keep my information streams tidy and organized.
This also helps me organize the way I start conversations on topics that I am covering. My greatest tip for these kind of lists is HIDE from Newsfeed and unfollow. Simple as it is. I don’t like getting spam, so removing the things you don’t care about is keeping your information clear and organized. You don’t want clutter in your social media profile. I like getting high quality information that I can contemplate on and reuse after, also I like good humor, so if someone is constantly providing content that I don’t care about, I just skip it. Unfollow and hide from news is your friend. Don’t worry if you offend someone (they won’t know that you did it), it’s you and your time, and take pride in how you use it.
Storing The Ideas
Now we got to the most important part of this article: Storing the ideas. Before I get to some fancy widgets and gadgets I want to emphasize the importance of Pen and NoteBook. These 2 alone boost your creativity by a great %. Scribe, take notes, write aimlessly, having a notebook in front of yourself is simply put: GREAT. It’s personalized and it’s your own way of taking notes. I am usually mind mapping my notes or take lists. Concept of mind mapping is extremely important for me, and there is no software that can exchange the natural flow of my mind as pen and paper can. Not having a pen and paper in front of yourself is like shooting your idea storing process in the foot. Plus you have everything in physical form. If you don’t know how to mind map, here are quick 10 mind mapping tips, to get you started. All of those notes need a home and that home should be Evernote.
This cross platform application is simply put: cool. I could write a book about it. Feel free Use it on your smartphone, desktop or as web. Whenever you get an idea, STORE IT! Open up a new note, write it down, assign it to notebook and add tag to it. There is Evernote Chrome Extension as well. Now instead of talking what there is at your disposal, I will explain how I use Evernote. Whenever I see something interesting I take a snapshot of it, with my cellphone. It’s image recognition system tags all the letters on the picture, so all the notes I took using my Pen and Notebook, become seaerchable by Evernote engine (and since I am using Chrome Extension, whenever I search Google, I search my notes as well).
Accessing & Reviewing Your Ideas As A Part of Memory Preservation
Having many ideas doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t refreshing your memory and reminding yourself where you left off. Ideas don’t mean much until you start acting on them. While Omnifocus and task management systems are our road map for daily active tasks, idea buckets such as Evernote and DevonThink are places where we can freely express and connect our thoughts.
Regularly coming back to your notes is a surefire way to keep your creativity. The most brilliant minds in the history of mankind have been using paper version of their notes. Some notes from famous historical individuals have been sold for millions of dollars on the auctions.
Memory is plastic, and the more we re-engage our notes (or in some cases our own old blog posts), the more we will consolidate our ideas. There are certain notes that I’ve put as a repeated reminder, so I can re-access the things that are the most important to me. Notes that I repeatedly review are my goals and my source code.
Real World Examples of Ways To Quickly Collect Notes
I use apps to take screen shots of visit cards, maintenance bills and any other important information that I want to remember, for later use where ever I am. Evernote is a big part of this ecosystem. So whatever I am doing, I can use it to write/snapshot/audio record stuff that I want to remember. Use of notebooks in Evernote is what keeps your ideas clear and well organized. I am running multiple websites and there is no way I can track ideas for all of those if I don’t use notebooks. I keep one notebook per website and one notebook for my most notable activities during my day. I’ve got notebooks for bills, random ideas, dairy (Day One)… Possibilities are endless… I will keep you covered with ideas how to use Evernote in future articles. Also one of the services that I like to use as a back up is: Instapaper. This website allows you to save articles for later read, there is even option inside of Google reader settings, that allows you to send articles directly to Instapaper, via “send to” button. Pretty part of this extension that there is Android application that lets you read articles offline on your smart phone, it’s called Insta Fetch.