Write everything down. That statement is a rule I have for myself. Following it is key for me to be productive. This week’s post is all about capturing information.
Capture everything is one of the key components of the well-known productivity system Getting Things Done. While I don’t personally use GTD, I do try to make sure everything I need to get done is captured and saved somewhere with easy access. I can’t rely on my brain to keep track of appointments, lists, tasks, notes, and ideas on its own. If it’s not written down somewhere, I probably am not going to remember to get it done. Once all your essential information is saved somewhere, your brain is free to create, think, and solve problems.
I highly recommend developing your own system for capturing. These are the tools I use.
My planner is always with me. It contains my calendar and to-do list. If I think of something I need to do and know when it needs to be done, I just write it on the appropriate day in my planner. The same thing applies for events and appointments. My planner is the first stop for capture, and it’s usually sufficient.
Sometimes I need a little more room to write, so I also carry a thin notebook in my purse. I call this my everything notebook, and I will probably write a more detailed post on it at some point. It applies to this post because one of the things I use it for is for jotting down things I need to do at some point but I don’t know yet when I’ll work on them. Since I’m using Evernote (more in a future post on that) for most of my notes now, I also use this notebook to write quick ideas & notes that don’t really need to be saved in Evernote.
3. Drafts App
I’ve only been using the Drafts app on my iPad and phone for a couple of weeks, but it has been working out well. I’ve never liked capturing notes and ideas electronically until I started using this app. When you open it, you have a blank screen ready to be typed on. You really only have to touch the icon and you’re ready to start typing. You don’t have to worry about how to categorize or where to save your note. All you have to do is type. It’s the closest electronic thing I’ve found that compares to the ease of good ‘ole pen & paper. In fact, one day this app might replace my notebook completely. Once you’re done typing, you can save your draft to a number of other services and applications. I’m using Drafts for writing ideas, post ideas, work notes, and really all kinds of other things. I like that my drafts can all be saved somewhere I can easily find them later.
There are so many other tools you can use to capture everything. I recommend experimenting to find what works for you. Does anyone else live by the “write everything down rule”? What do you use?