35 lunch: I want to……remember all my ideas

Written by  //  May 29, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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My ideas come at inopportune moments. They arrive in the shower, on a walk, at school pick-up car-line, in the middle of the night, half-way through dinner, when I’m on the phone, putting the rubbish out, driving the car………whenever and wherever, randomly and delightfully they arrive. The only time they don’t, of course, is when I am ready to receive them.

chalkboard tablets
And that terrifies me. My last memory cells disappeared around the birth of my fourth child so I can’t just file my ideas away in the grey matter, I have to write them down. I have to store them. I have to look at them again to remind me. I have to have a system.

So if you’re like me: big on ideas, small on memory – here are some tools and tips that you might find useful.

1. The handbag notebook: I use a small one, that way it fits in all my bags and I get to refresh it often. My current one was a fabulous gift and it’s a 10cm bit of handbag candy from Smythson’s of Bond St.

2. The Blackboard notebook: these are great for ideas that happen in the kitchen. Because it’s a blackboard you have to transfer your ideas to your idea-bank regularly. I like the way it forces you to do that. The one above is from the Peg and Awl shop on etsy.

3. Shower notebook: I love a long shower and always have fabulous ideas while I’m in there so a waterproof notebook is a must.

4. Teeny weeny car notebook: I keep a tiny spiral bound notebook by the gear stick! I tear the used pages out as soon as I get home and pop them in the study.

5. Email: I email myself ideas. I’ve tried recording ideas  and using all the fabulous iphone apps, but if I really want to remember it and I’m not near a notebook (on a walk, say) email is the best way. Sometimes I email directly to my evernote account (see below)

6. Evernote: Notebooks are great at recording ideas but they all need to be stored in an idea-bank somewhere. I use Evernote for this. I’m very disciplined  – bordering on the obsessive – about filing my ideas away under useful and memorable headings. I have 95 idea notebooks in evernote which is maybe a little excessive, but it works for me.

7. Emailing straight to evernote: A clever little tip is to email your idea straight to evernote. It works like a dream.  As you can only email to a specified notebook in evernote (mine is my name) I have to remember to go through the emails I sent there and refile. Hardly a hardship.

8. Posting ideas to evernote: I have a little system to remind me to transfer my notebook notes to evernote. The ‘blackboard’ and ‘waterproof’ ones are easy – when there’s no space left I transfer them. The car notebook I do daily (from the scraps I take into the house) and the handbag notebook – well I tend to do that one once it’s full. As I have big writing and lots of thoughts it fills up pretty quickly. If it didn’t I think I’d do it weekly.

9. Re-reading ideas: Of course the trouble with filing ideas away in an orderly fashion is that you forget about their existence. So I flick through my evernote notebooks fortnightly to clean them out and remind myself of what’s in there. It only takes about 10 minutes.

10. Kindle: I love books but find my mind quickly wanders from the page to an idea. I use the ‘note’ function in the kindle to record all these and when I get to the end of the book I pop them all into evernote.


And that’s it. Idea collection and collation in a nutshell. How do you do it?

PS: Here, on Pinterest, is a wee selection of notebooks I love.


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