Don’t forget to capture your ideas

Posted by in Productivity

You would think it goes without saying, but forgetting to capture ideas while they are fresh is a rather veritable productivity no-no.

Firstly, it means you’re going to have to have the same idea twice. Secondly, not offloading it to an external system such as a task or notes manager means your brain will have to keep some semblance of track of it. The combination of the two entails an expenditure of brain storage and processing cycles, which surely could be spent elsewhere.

Thirdly, when you attempt to recall an idea, it often suffers from the usual blurring that occurs when you offload something to memory that isn’t entirely fixed. This is scientifically known as the “I know I was supposed to buy something more at the grocery store, but couldn’t be bothered to make a list” effect.

And last, but not least, anything that the brain is trusted with has a tendency to resurface at the most inopportune of times – perhaps forcing you to postpone capture yet again. For each time this happens, part of the idea will bleed away.

The simple way to do it is to find a place where you collect your ideas, whether analogue or digital, and then revisit them from time to time. I do this by keeping track of them in my task manager, where I have a @Someday context and projects with similarly named Subfolders, inspired by David Allen’s GTD concept.

Perhaps you could, too.

Better write that down, by the way.