Ways to record thoughts

I want to write stuff down in my notebook and have it be visible from my phone and laptop. Just now I was thinking my schedule for today, which I want to write down somewhere. I have the following dilemma:

  1. Writing a schedule out on a computer feels tedious — so much typing, and I have to store it into a file somewhere or log in somewhere first.
  2. Writing a schedule out on paper feels useless — it won’t be available to me unless I bring the paper everywhere I go.

Best of both worlds

I ought to be able to write it on paper and then have it on the internet.

I could use a tablet to write things, or I could write on paper and take a picture with my phone. Either way, then I have to get it onto the internet, which constitutes logging into my blog or my server and uploading it. Maybe also “making a new page” in some way. I’d rather just “send it” using the twitter/google+ style image sender on my phone. Kind of like posterous/wordpress email blogging.

But I don’t want it to be “on my blog”, do I? I feel a strange resistance to using a blog to store and display personal information. Shouldn’t it all be stuff I want the world to see? Some deeper thinking is warranted here. I should try emailing things to wordpress and messing with visibility/categories a bit more. It could also make it easier to convert private thoughts into public posts.

Slightly more meta

While thinking about this, I thought “I’d like to keep these thoughts somewhere…” which is the same problem for ideas instead of for schedules. I’ve wanted an idea-keeping tool for a long time… I’ve tried a few things:

  • whiteboard
  • webpage with a single input form that displays everything fed into it
  • workflowy
  • evernote
  • a notepad I carried around
  • notepad files on my laptop

None of them have stuck. That’s probably due to one of the following:

  1. write friction
  2. read friction

Write friction is resistance to recording the thought. Making it easier to get my thought written down and stored somewhere reduces it. Read friction is resistance to reviewing my thought. Once it’s out there, how do I get it back? Making it easier to find past thoughts reduces read friction. A send-style interface feels aimed at reducing write friction, but that might not be the reason I’ve stopped using tools in the past.

Today, I defaulted to my blogging for recording the idea. As a prototype for now, I’ll write my schedule on paper and take a picture with my phone. It won’t be on my laptop, but it’ll follow me most places that way.

One thought on “Ways to record thoughts

  1. I have a solution for the first problem. It’s what I often use to solve that very same problem.

    Dropbox. I have my Dropbox account set up on all my devices and I add the photos to the folder. It’s very much like the Send feature for social networking (and on some platforms I believe it’s integrated into the UI in just such a manner) and it’s automatically pushed to all devices. It’s even accessible from the web if by chance you need (although, obviously, more effort is required).

    I find many of my daily problems can be solved through effective use of Dropbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.