Sooner or later, we all find ourselves struck by a lightning bolt of creative inspiration. Perhaps more commonly, we come up with a nifty idea regarding work, home, or hobbies. But unless we commit it to memory or write it down, such ideas and inspiration typically become lost and forgotten.
Even if we make a point to remember or write them down, ideas and inspiration are far too often put on the back burner, never to be reviewed, let alone put to good use. Chances are you can remember more neglected ideas than those you converted into action. If so, you’re not alone.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to various tools and resources, it’s fairly easy to keep track of ideas and inspiration. From there, you can take these nuggets of genius and turn them into bricks of personal or professional achievement.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at six tools and resources for keeping track of ideas and inspiration:
Smartphones are the single most effective tool you have when it comes to keeping track of ideas and inspiration. Cloud-based mobile apps like Evernote let users take notes and organize them in project folders. Users can access these notes from their tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. These apps also allow you to upload images, take screenshots, scan text, and do various other things that make it easier to document and utilize your ideas and inspiration throughout the day.
Another way smartphones are exceptionally handy at keeping track of ideas, and inspiration is through their voice recording capabilities. Every smartphone built in the last decade already has a voice recording app or allows users to download one from an app store. From there, the process is pretty straightforward: you tap the record button and start talking. When you’re done, tap the stop button and save the audio file. That way, you have a means of recording your thoughts and ideas in a fluid, stream-of-consciousness manner.
Every modern smartphone comes with a digital camera. Whether taking photos or recording video, smartphone cameras serve as a useful means of documenting the sorts of inspiration you come across by chance throughout the day. From the untouched splendor found in nature to the professional graphic design featured in downtown advertising, these external sources of inspiration are easily lost unless we take the time to capture them via photography or video.
It’s easy to write off paper-based means of keeping track of ideas and inspiration. After all, don’t we live in a digital age? Aren’t we always using screens and keyboards to read and write? While there’s no arguing the world is less reliant on handwritten and hand-drawn content, there’s still something to be said for the ability to instantly jot things down using pen and paper. A journal notebook is great for work project reminders, outlining essays, brainstorming exercises, and so much more. All the while, you’re creating a durable record of whichever ideas and inspiration are going through your head.
You don’t need to be a talented artist to use sketchbooks to keep track of ideas and inspiration. A basic understanding of lines, shades, and shapes is all you need to get the point across. You may also find yourself becoming more skilled as time goes on due to the practice you’re getting.
Newspaper and magazine sales are at record lows, yet they remain a useful source of ideas and inspiration. The problem comes from keeping track of the slivers of relevant information and imagery buried in countless pages that mean very little to you. The solution is to cut the important stuff out and keep it all contained inside a scrapbook. From recipes to arts and crafts ideas to photographs and more, the information and images gleaned from newspapers and magazines can be easily preserved thanks to the functional design of the scrapbooks your grandma used to pull out on rainy days.
Everyone eventually experiences a sudden burst of creative inspiration or comes across a useful piece of information that unleashes a flood of ideas. Yet far too often, we fail to put these moments to proper use. The first step in doing so is to keep track of ideas and inspiration. This can be done with the help of several tools and resources.
Alex Farina is a freelance writer from Ohio. He enjoys writing about design, fashion, nature, and technology.