Capture Everything you say…but how? — Summer Shorts

Today will be brief, as there isn’t really much to say. You are persuaded no doubt of the benefits of capturing or writing down all of those idle thoughts that come your way, all of the tasks that people give to you and all of the quotes or highlights from books or articles that you read. But how?

My advice is two fold:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Minimise the number of inputs you have
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Keep it simple

Really, it needs to be something that is easily accessible at all times. For this, for most of, this is going to be our phones. They are with us at all times. So, there needs to be an app, or at most two apps, on your phone where in one or two taps you can be typing whatever it is you need to remember.

But, for those of us who don’t want to use our smart phone, or for those of us who don’t have one, we need something analog. And for all of us, there will be times that we don’t want our phones around or don’t want to get them out. For this, I recommend a note taker wallet. It’s pocket sized, has a pen loop and the one I have can hold two credit/debit cards as well as having a pouch for other stuff. And it contains a small pocket note book with simple tear off pages.

I have my phone in one pocket and my note taker wallet in the other. Sometimes I will have the note taker wallet on my desk next to me to note things down whilst I am working or in a meeting.

But — to keep it simple — I ditched the pen it came with. It required two hands to open it up to right. I needed a clicky pen so I don’t need both hands and it is much faster.

Minimise the number of inputs you have

This is all about minimising the number of places you may have to look to find something. We’ve all worked with someone who writes lists on any scrap of paper/envelope or post it they can find and then whilst meeting with you they waste 5 minutes rifling through notebooks, folders, drawers etc trying to find the list they had made for their meeting with you. So I am going to tell you how I do it. This is not meant to be prescriptive but descriptive.

In other words — don’t copy me. Unless you want to…in which case you can.

On my phone (Android) I use an app called Braintoss. Braintoss effectively is an app that will send any text you write (it also does audio notes but I don’t use this) as an email to any e-mail address you pre-load into it. One tap on the button in my phone’s dock and I am typing. One press on the send button and it goes to my default pre-loaded e-mail address, long press on the send button and it brings up the list of pre-loaded e-mail addresses for me to select. I have two pre-loaded addresses. The default sends it to my notes applications inbox. The other sends it to my to-do list application’s inbox.

On my computer I have two keyboard shortcuts set up. [Ctrl + Win + =] is a shortcut that brings up a text box where I can write a task and pressing enter adds to my task inbox. It means that whilst writing this, I have remembered that I am supposed to go to the chemist. I am nowhere near the chemist. [Ctrl+Win+=] Go the the chemist at 6pm {Enter}. and BAM! that task is in my to-do list and I am back to writing without switching apps or picking up my phone or interrupting my flow.

If it’s not a task [Ctrl + Alt + h] brings up a similar text box where I can write a note that goes into my notes apps inbox. Whilst writing this I thought of a blog post idea that I want to give time to thinking about. [Ctrl + Alt + h] What does Jesus think about my sin — or what does he think about me, whilst I am sinning {Enter} and BOOM! that’s noted for another day.

I also have a note taker wallet which in theory is for times when I don’t want my phone to be used, like when I am in bed.

Hmmm — this post is longer than I thought it would be…

E-mails/texts/whatsapps etc I need to keep/refer back to can be forwarded to either my notes app or to-do list (or at least I can save the link to the e-mail in gmail). Websites, my notes app has a really excellent web clipper (as does my to-do list but it is rare for me to use this one) so the page and the link gets saved in the inbox of my notes app. Highlights of articles I read get saved to the inbox of my notes app using an automation I have set up using a service called If This Then That (IFTTT). Highlights from ebooks, I will periodically export them and save them to my notes app. Highlights from regular physical books tend to get noted into my notes app when I review the book after I have finished it. Or if it is a longer book, when I review sections of it. Something I intend to do from now on, I picked up from my church minister which is to write a summary and review of every book I read when I have finished it.

So, there you have it. I have 3 places I need to keep tabs on. My notes app, my to-do list and my note taker wallet. Anything and everything that I need to keep will be in one of those places.

But a list 1000 lines long is just as useless as having no list at all. So we need to organise it. And that is what we move onto tomorrow*.

*you’ll have noted in my post every day for thirty days challenge that tomorrow is very fluid concept.

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