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