The Mental Traffic Jam
§It’s Like a Parking Lot in My Head
I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of good intentions to write them down and do something with them. The problem is that a lot of the time I can’t get them down in time or fast enough, and I end up with a bunch of noise in my head.
Yes, I use (or have used) these:
- Microsoft OneNote (at work)
- index cards (usually 3"x5" / 76.2mm x 127mm, blank)
- Google Docs (through Google Drive, I have a Spark File there)
- Google Keep (I use a spark tag there)
When I’m able to write down more I feel like my head is definitely clearer. The problem is capturing it and trying to keep it in roughly the same place so I remember to look at it again later. The irony is that writing more means that I’ll have more ideas to try and get some piece of before they disappear into the ether of my unconscious mind.
Another aspect to all of this is reading into the bits of my mental state over the past several years. I created my current spark file in October 2012, but it has some stuff from back in 2004 from another file I used to write down ideas. What happened in-between? I don’t know, unless I can find some notebook or stack of index cards to fill in the gaps. Five+ years of ideas ends up with a lot of snippets to go through.
Having all these basic ingredients isn’t enough though. Something needs to be done with them, preferably in a coherent way that other humans can understand - not in all cases, sometimes it’s really just for me to enjoy. As good as it feels to write them down, it’s better to read them later and have that “oh yeah!” moment. Even better is to connect some of the ideas together into a whole new idea. That can’t really happen without reviewing the ideas altogether.
What do you do to capture those ideas? How do you use them later?