Remember how teachers used to harass you for failing to take notes in class? Yeah, I was repeatedly told off because my desk was empty during history class even though I was sure I would remember the facts during the exam… Turned out I was totally wrong. But I didn’t heed the advice until much later.
You can avoid a lot of frustration and mind-rending horrors if you faithfully carry a journal (or smartphone) for jotting down notes during the day. At least have a magic marker in your back pocket for lettering emergency keywords on your forearm (palms are sweaty and can easily rub them off).
You might be walking home from the metro station when an ingenious idea springs into your mind. But if you neglect to record that idea just because you are just five minutes away from your desk, you are in great peril. Our brains (mine especially) tend to be rather clumsy when it comes to keeping things organized, as one thought will lead to another, and before we realize, the former has already escaped the grasp of our thought tendrils, blasted into oblivion.
You’ll want to have the tools for saving your ideas available at all times.
As with your wallet and keys (and probably your cell phone too), develop a habit of bringing an idea journal with you whenever you leave the safety of your house. I personally keep a journal tucked in my bag so that I can always write stuff down whenever I come up with ideas for blog posts. Recently, however, the journal has remained nearly untouched. Thanks to touch screen technology, the alphabet has become less burdensome to use on cell phones, which is why I no longer depend on pen and paper. Smartphones are more compact than journals, thus making excellent replacements for notepads and journals.
Regardless of what method you use, it’s a good practice to collect all your ideas into one place. Scattering your entries over multiple platforms makes it complicated for you to find the right idea. This is why you should sync your notes, so to speak. So instead of keeping your ideas where they are, decide on one place where you dump all your ideas. Since I use my computer to work on this blog I’ve created a Self-Learner.txt file where I collect everything related to it. And once I’ve completed syncing new ideas, I erase the originals on my phone or journal to avoid duplicating them later. Everything is now sorted out nicely in one simple text file.
Sync your files with Dropbox
Text files get even better with a handy piece of software called Dropbox… This little app allows you to create a folder on your computer which automatically syncs with your Dropbox account. What this means is, whenever you edit a file within your Dropbox folder, the file gets updated in your Dropbox account as well, allowing you to access it from your smartphone, school computer, or any nook on the Web. And it works the other way around too; if you edit a file online, it gets updated on your computer too. In fact, all your Dropbox files are synced on all devices tethered to the service—which won’t cost you a penny.