In these days of information overload, it’s important to create systems that make it easy to access and use what we learn. What value are our good ideas if we soon forget them or forget where we put them?
With the Get Organize class starting today, I thought I’d share three of my favorite hacks for storing ideas for this newsletter and my blog posts.
Organizing Content Ideas
We all have sparks of ideas that light up and gradually disappear if we aren’t quick to capture them. I say, “Capture them all – pronto!” You can always weed out the bad ideas later.
I use Evernote to store all of my brilliant (and far less than brilliant) ideas. Since most ideas occur while I’m at the computer, it makes perfect sense to keep it at my fingertips.
I can add notes to Evernote notebooks directly, through email, and with a browser-clipping icon.
I’m in the process of reorganizing these folders so that they’re more in line with the categories and tags on my blog, but the screen capture at left gives you a sense of the 335 notes in my content storage.
Tim Ferriss saved my sanity with this post showing how he uses a low-tech indexing system for his paper notebooks.
My modified version of Ferriss’s system involves:
- Numbering the upper right of every page in my notebook and considering the front of each page as side A and the back as side B.
- Creating an index on the last page of every notebook. I make 3 columns: one for page numbers (extra narrow), one for side A, and one for side B. A quick summary reminds me of each page’s content.
- Dating the index contents here and there because sometimes dates are a vital memory trigger.
I can always find my notes now!
Organizing a Blog Post
Those who create complete outlines and structure for their blog posts swear that it saves time in the long run. Time invested up front makes the posts easier to finish and more coherent.
I’ve found myself referring repeatedly to Marina Brito’s post, “How To Save Tons of Writing Time — By Using A Complete Outline,” for Paul Wolfe’s blog.
Brito says she found herself working with half outlines, which only ask questions (How? Why? etc.) A complete outline answers the questions. Big difference!
“With a complete outline, writing the article was only a matter of expanding the thoughts a bit more, adding connecting sentences, creating a summary at the end, etc. and voila! I had a complete article in a much shorter period of time,” Brito writes.
I, too, had been working with half outlines and am trying to use her system for all of my articles and posts. Read her post and try it for yourself!
Hopefully these three hacks will help you save, store, and retrieve your content ideas so that they’re there when you’re ready to write.
I share other organizing suggestions in the Get Organized class, which begins today. It’s not too late to join! We’re going to clean out, up and off and get our ecosystems in order for the busy fall season. Click here to read about the class and sign up.