You can’t schedule great thoughts.
Sometimes they come while driving.
Sometimes they come in the shower.
Sometimes they come in a dream in the middle of the night.
Sometimes they come in a movie theater.
Sometimes they come at a wedding.
The point is, if you don’t capture the great idea, quote, blog post or song lyric, it’s unlikely you’ll recall it later.
The solution is to always have a method to capture your great thoughts on the spot. I’ll list my coverage strategy here. Yours will be different of course, but my goal is to get you to make the minute changes necessary so you never again lose another great thought.
I keep my small Moleskine and a pen next to my bed. I rarely wake up in the middle of the night with great thoughts but the moment I open my eyes, my mind is a blender of tasks, meetings and ideas and having a way to capture them immediately helps me start my day in a relaxed and organized fashion.
If I’m in front of my computer, online or not, I use a great application called Remember the Milk. It works well with David Allen’s GTD system and provides enough flexibility to implement your own methodology for tasks & reminders. They also have an excellent iPhone app that in my opinion is well worth the $20 per year.
As a backup, I always have my small Moleskine in my briefcase when I am away from my laptop.
**Always focus on the road and never write, text or call while driving.** If there is a passenger in the car, I’ll ask them to write the idea in my Moleskine or shoot me an SMS message reminder. If I’m alone, I’ll wait until I’m stopped, then write it down myself or use a service like Jott or, if I want to immediately tweet my idea or question, Audioboo.
I’m usually so focused (frazzled?) when cooking a big meal that my mind is dialed into making sure everything finishes at the same time but if a great thought pops into my head, I’ll quickly scrawl it on the refrigerator in puttanesca sauce.
I’ll tell my fishing partner to remind me. Unreliable but cheaper than dropping my iPhone in the bottom of the lake.
This is the one exception in my “capture everything”. My mind is always clear when surfing. Mostly because it’s peaceful and I’m one with nature, but also because I’m trying not to drown.
What tools & systems do you use to capture everything?