Free Your Mind: Thirteen Tools to Capture Your Ideas, Tasks, and Reminders

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Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Teresa Robinson via Compfight

There are Several Ways to Capture Important Information

Hi-tech, lo-tech or no-tech, there are plenty of tools out there to help you hold on to thoughts, ideas and reminders.  Here’s my list.

  1. Note pad and pen or pencil
  2. Short-stack of index cards (several 3×5 index cards secured by a binder clip makes a handy note-taking tool)
  3. Post-It notes (a must-have tool)
  4. Section of pages from your existing planner/system
  5. Cocktail napkin (don’t laugh…some of the best ideas ever created were captured on the back of a cocktail napkin).
  6. Hand-held mini- or micro-cassette recorder (A few years ago, I used one in my car during commute to and from work)
  7. Hand-held digital audio recorder (I bought mine on eBay for cheap and use it during my commute time)
  8. Voicemail or telephone answering machine (for both home and office reminders)
  9. The text or audio note function of your cell phone (refer to your owner’s manual or do a Google search for details)
  10. E-mail.  Yep:  send yourself an e-mail message.  Works like a charm and can be easily converted into a task in Outlook.
  11. A service like ReQall.  Using the Bluetooth function of my cellphone, I leave myself messages during my commute to and/or from work. The message is transcribed and forwarded to my Outlook email address at the office.  I used Jott until they went out of business.  Now I use the Pro version of ReQall and find that it’s actually better than Jott.  The Pro version is just $2.99/month.  There’s a free version too.  Check it out!
  12. Online tools like Remember the Milk, Nozbe,WorkFlowy, Google Calendar or Google Task List
  13. The note function or task list function of Microsoft Outlook

Your turn:  What is your favorite tool for capturing ideas, thoughts, and reminders?

  • http://www.spencermcdonald.net Spencer McDonald

    The world is packed with so much information for us to absorb. The task of attempting to soak it all up is taunting. It is overload (sometimes) for our mind.

    Michael, you have captured some great methods for capturing and recording the most important information we need to keep. I use two things that are not on your list. First, all of my ideas are captured in Word. If an idea strikes me at work, I put into a Word doc and email it to my home email address so I can do something with it later. My second device for capturing and organizing my ideas is Evernote. I find I can store all my thoughts and ideas there, categorize it, and find it later with ease.

    Have a nice day.

    • Michael

      Spencer –

      Indeed: we seem to live in a state of “information overload” these days.

      Two excellent additions to the list of capture tools! It’s funny that you mention Word documents, because I use them as well. There are LOTS of ways to capture info.

      And I have an Evernote app, but I rarely use it. I guess I need to re-visit that tool and see what it can do. I’ve heard a ton of success stories.

      Thanks very much for taking the time to visit my site and leave a comment!