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8 Tools That Ensure You'll Never Lose An Idea

By Glen Stansberry of LifeDev

8 tools to ensure you never lose an ideaThere are plenty of tools for people wanting to improve their productivity. Planners, lists, calendars... all these tools are awesome helpers for getting stuff done.

However, many people overlook one very important aspect of productivity: The Capture. It doesn't matter how well a list of todo's is organized if the list isn't complete. How fast you can complete tasks doesn't really matter if some fall through the cracks and never get done. Ideas don't matter if they're never recorded. The capture of these ideas and tasks is all-too crucial when it comes to becoming more efficient.

It's been my experience that good ideas never come at a convenient time. Never. In the shower, on the way to the store, mowing the lawn. These are when ideas really happen.

We're going to look at 8 tools that help ensure our important ideas and tasks are recorded properly, and never forgotten.

1. iGTD with Quicksilver (mac only). I recently converted from the dark side from a PC to a Mac, and quickly found there is a wide selection of GTD-style task management software available. iGTD quickly became my central hub of productivity, thanks to integration with an equally-impressive piece of Mac goodness, Quicksilver.

In a nutshell, I can use these two pieces of software to effortlessly and quickly add ideas as I'm working on the computer. I just hit a keyboard command, type my idea/todo into quicksilver, save, and all the sudden I'm back to whatever I was working on.

The integration of Quicksilver into iGTD really deserves a whole post dedicated to the topic, so I'll point you to the excellent guide on using iGTD with Quicksilver at 43Folders.

2. Freemind. Mind mapping is a great way to have a visual layout for your ideas. You can retrace your steps and thought processes with mind maps, and can make visual connections that allow for great amounts of detail. Plus, it's a great way to get those creative juices flowing and think "outside the box". This helps with preserving the entire idea, from start to finish.

Freemind is mind mapping software that is free and open to most computer platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux) and works pretty darn well. If you're looking for a web-based mind mapper, check out Bubbl.us.

3. Water-proof paper for shower ideas. Showers are great (but not very convenient) times for having ideas. If you're serious about jotting something down, keep a wax pencil handy to mark on your tile. If you want to get a little more fancy, buy a waterproof notebook to scribble in while you're bathing.

4. Jott. On the go and nowhere to put your idea? Try Jott. Jott is a phone service that allows you to "jott" down ideas via voicemail, which the service transcribes into email, and delivers to your inbox. This can be a lifesaver when you're moving around or don't have any paper handy.

5. Cheap voice recorder. While this may not be as elegant and streamlined as Jott, it can still be a lifesaver. Any recorder will do, but the digital recorders are very handy.

6. Backpack. Backpack is an incredible web-based collection system that allows you to easily capture your thoughts or todo's from any computer with internet access. Set up notes, reminders, and todos, plus collaborate with other people.

If you're a Mac user you can sweeten the deal even more by installing the Backpack dashboard widget. Now you can hit F12 and update your existing Backpack pages.

7. Behance. The Behance team truly understands creative types. Designed specifically for dreamers like you and I, Behance has developed a whole product line of note-taking and various "collecting" products, ranging from note cards to moleskines.

Paper is my weapon of choice for collecting ideas and tasks, and Behance products do it well.

8. Hipster PDA. For those of you DIY'ers who like to roll their own productivity tools, the HPDA is for you.

The Hipster PDA consists of 2 main components: cheap notecards and a binder clip. This nifty little gadget can then clip to your belt or pocket, and is always nearby when ideas happen. It's saved me from many a lost thought in the past, and will no doubt continue to in the future.

These 8 tools cover nearly every scenario where a thought might be lost. Effectively working these tools into your collection and productivity system will enable you to have piece of mind that you'll never have the regret of forgetting that one great task, idea, or date.

Remember: Our productivity systems are only as good as our collection buckets.

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Great post

It's too bad that this post got spammed to death as I think it's a great one on capturing and has lots of info I have never heard of before.

I think that the Capture step it describes is on the best to focus on, as without doing it well, productivity becomes near to impossible.,

Another Application to Try

For those of us who use windows the free program Evernote can be great for jotting down and clipping those all essential ideas.

Shower Tool

I seem to get my best ideas in the shower. I purchased one of those kid's "magic screen" toys for a buck. Now when I get an idea, I can jot it down, then transfer it after the shower. When I no longer need the idea, life the magic screen and erase it.

f12

F12 gets me my dashboard... THREE YEARS I've had this Mac and didn't know.... argh! Maybe I should start reading instructions.

I was a bit concerned when I read some posts on the Backpack forum with users saying they couldn't do anything - I'm wary of these online tools getting overloaded or down for maintenance, the latter often happening at my prime work times because I'm in an opposing timezone.

I'm trying out Scrivener, a great tool for Mac writers - initially for my writing, but a colleague said they were using for all their general research and info capture.

Capture is so important. So many times I've gone to sleep on a great idea thinking, 'I'll remember it in the morning', but I don't.

No longer have thinking time in the shower though, saving water.

Helen

Another great GTD tool

This one also support Windows.

Do check it out, best GTD tool i have found.

Thinking Rock
http://www.thinkingrock.com.au/

Regards,
René

Well...

Well... I'd add exactly the contrast...
it is pretty important to be alone when having an idea. The propose of the friend is just evolving the idea, adding his ideas, from a different point of view.

You forgot something

Great post! I would like to add just a small detail missing: Good company is great for ideas, a good friend, partner, customer can be a great way to even start developing the idea.
Some times we got great ideas that became projects when traveling in my car with coworkers.

Cheers from Slovenia,

Jose Antonio

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