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How to organize your ideas on computer
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Phoenix Offline
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Post: #1
How to organize your ideas on computer
Problem: I have a lot of things strewn around on my computer, my cloud storage, and my phone. I also write a lot of stuff in notepads (ink and paper).

These things are related to my 'general research', which includes everything from entrepreneurship, travel, women, philosophy, politics, science, culture etc etc.

The types of things are:
- Browser bookmarks on laptop (firefox)
- An ad-hoc directory structure in dropbox, which branches by category (e.g. travel - japan - 20xx or self improvement - goals)
-- Includes a variety of file types through this directory structure, including:
---- excel files (used where appropriate, for plans etc),
---- notepad files (simple, load fast)
---- word files, when the detail and heading hierarchy must be more complicated.
---- website link files (.url extention I think, basically a file version of a bookmark)
---- other files which fit into that hierachy such as travel photos/movies, inspirational pictures etc, misc scanned pdfs/images etc
-- Includes a variety of file purposes. E.g. goal setting, plans, records, ideas.
- Notepad app/widgets on my phone
-- Contain their own text files, usually ideas I jot down when I only have my phone with me
- Browser bookmarks on phone
- Written notes on paper. Yes, an organizational nightmare, but paper and pen has far fewer ways to irritate you than a computer, and just feels better and faster for recording ideas.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to better integrate and smoothly organize or centralize this whole setup?
03-06-2015 07:59 AM
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Yeti Offline
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Post: #2
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
What about Evernote?

For example, you can take a photo of your hand-written notes and drop it into Evernote.

See an article that you want to read later? Drop it into Evernote.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2015 08:14 AM by Yeti.)
03-06-2015 08:06 AM
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heavy Offline
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Post: #3
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I use Google for everything (not for work stuff).

I use Drive for notes I want to save, spreadsheets, files I want to keep.

I use Keep for grocery lists, to do lists, a guitar tab I want to learn, anything that pops into my mind. Reminder to look up something or document something later on my computer to my Drive account.

I use Calendar for events and some to do things.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2015 09:01 AM by heavy.)
03-06-2015 08:59 AM
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worldwidetraveler Offline
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Post: #4
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
Mindmaps..

I use them for breaking down concepts for learning, to brainstorming, to organizing to research.

I tend to use them as a dashboard of sorts where I will access other files like spreadsheets, videos, pdfs, etc...
03-06-2015 01:42 PM
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Drazen Offline
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Post: #5
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I have things in evernote but I rarely check them. I do love it and subscribe to it though. I do actually save things like articles and certain posts on forums like this. Its great for travelling.


I've started using WUNDERLIST to keep track of things I need to do, it really helps out.
https://www.wunderlist.com/

I've attempted to start journaling using OneNote (iOS/apple only). Not really good at it but it does have its potential.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2015 03:18 PM by Drazen.)
03-06-2015 03:17 PM
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Isaac Jordan Offline
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Post: #6
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
David Allen's Getting Things Done would be well worth a read.

The premise of the book is that in order to work effectively, you need to be able to focus on the task at hand. In order to do that, you need to clear all the other thoughts and ideas out of your head, so that your working mind isn't "cluttered" with all these pieces of information.

Allen suggests creating a system that you trust 100%, so that you can file something away and move on, confident that your system works well enough to where you no longer need to worry about losing/forgetting that item. There's no right system, per se, but rather the right system is one that you like and trust completely.

That being said, I'll second heavy's suggestion of Google. As much as I dislike relying on/giving so much of my data to a corporation, it allows me to 1) connect all my information together in one place (say, by having an Android phone with Drive/Calendar/Keep/Maps apps installed) and 2) secure against potential loss by storing most of that data in the cloud.
03-11-2015 08:36 AM
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Post: #7
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
^Beat me to it on GTD.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
03-11-2015 08:42 AM
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oilbreh Offline
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Post: #8
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
(03-06-2015 01:42 PM)worldwidetraveler Wrote:  Mindmaps..

I use them for breaking down concepts for learning, to brainstorming, to organizing to research.

I tend to use them as a dashboard of sorts where I will access other files like spreadsheets, videos, pdfs, etc...

which program do you use? Most I tried were clunky

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(This post was last modified: 03-11-2015 09:51 AM by oilbreh.)
03-11-2015 09:49 AM
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Marmite Offline
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Post: #9
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I read THIS article on keeping a digital commonplace book.

On my iPad:

Microsoft OneNote for organising all my thoughts.

SimpleMind+ for mind maps.
03-11-2015 09:58 AM
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Tresdus Offline
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Post: #10
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
How to Keep a Digital Commonplace
http://www.startgainingmomentum.com/how-...mmonplace/

Read this, it changed how I take notes. I moved everything into OneNote. I had the same problem as you before, but now I have a giant collection of summaries, notes, texts, favorites, pictures, videos etc. all in one place where I know where everything is.
03-11-2015 10:19 AM
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worldwidetraveler Offline
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Post: #11
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
(03-11-2015 09:49 AM)oilbreh Wrote:  
(03-06-2015 01:42 PM)worldwidetraveler Wrote:  Mindmaps..

I use them for breaking down concepts for learning, to brainstorming, to organizing to research.

I tend to use them as a dashboard of sorts where I will access other files like spreadsheets, videos, pdfs, etc...

which program do you use? Most I tried were clunky

Yeah, I agree, there are many clunky mind map programs out there.

Back in the day, I used ConceptDraw's mindmap a lot. Xmind wasn't too bad and I believe they have a free version.

I ended up creating my own to really get the most out of how I use them. For myself, I used ConceptDraw for some time before I really understood how I could use mind maps for what I needed. That is when I created my own. I would suggest just using a free version until you develop a process and then look for a program that better suits that process.

By Process, I mean how you use it to develop your own ideas, or to learn, or whatever your end goal is.

For example, when learning, I try to break things down into small chunks which is what mind maps do great. Since I used multiple media and multiple sources to learn, I build up my mindmap as a dashboard to all of those resources. Most mind map programs will allow you to attach urls to do this type of thing. If I need to look up a topic, I can bring up the mind map and quickly get access to all of my resources for that topic.

I'm a visual type of person, so breaking this down like this allows me to make associations much, much easier.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2015 10:35 AM by worldwidetraveler.)
03-11-2015 10:26 AM
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Dr. Howard Offline
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Post: #12
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
Trello FTW.

I put links to files inside of my notes with it, pictures as markers on top of the notes and sort from newest to oldest in lists.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
03-11-2015 07:58 PM
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monster Offline
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Post: #13
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
Organizing your thoughts on a computer? pfft

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03-11-2015 09:33 PM
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speakeasy Offline
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Post: #14
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I've found Pocket to be indispensable for saving interesting articles and links. It's a browser plugin and an app.
03-11-2015 10:09 PM
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duedue Offline
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Post: #15
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
Orgmode is a big deal among the geeks. It is very powerful but the downside is that it uses plain text format. It also runs in Emacs so you need to familiarize yourself with emacs as well. It is designed with GTD in mind.
(This post was last modified: 09-05-2015 11:10 AM by duedue.)
09-05-2015 11:09 AM
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frenchcorporation Offline
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Post: #16
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
Evernote.
09-05-2015 03:21 PM
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kaeru Offline
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Post: #17
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
What I do to make sure things stay organized is use a lot of folders. That way I know I can easily find the files I'm looking for.

The important stuff that I feel I can use while abroad (such as passport copy, bank details, resume...) I put it on Google Drive.

And to make sure I have a copy of everything, I use and external hard drive and use this nice software to sync my folders : http://sourceforge.net/projects/freefilesync/
That way you don't have have to copy everything again and again to make sure the files on your external HDD are up to date. Very useful.

Finally I use evernote to easily access everything that I find interesting on the internet, in books etc. or to write down to do lists.

I try to digitalize everything so it's easier to find later when I need it. If I wrote down something on a piece of a paper, I take a picture of it or retype it. Hell if someone gives me his contact card I put it in my digital adress book, because I know I'll lose it someday.
09-05-2015 03:55 PM
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skptc Offline
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Post: #18
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
OneNote. Has changed my life.
09-05-2015 09:23 PM
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SlickyBoy Offline
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Post: #19
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I second Evernote - their browser plug in is useful too. Also one note isn't bad either. For storage though, I would avoid Dropbox for security reasons; Microsoft OneDrive is much better. Google drive is secure enough, but they actually read your data (machines do, anyway) and spam/market you accordingly.

Pocket is great too, but not sure of the limitations of the free version. My trial of the pro version just expired. This feature is on the iPhone as "read it later" and I think it's actually the same company.

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(This post was last modified: 09-05-2015 11:00 PM by SlickyBoy.)
09-05-2015 10:56 PM
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travolta Offline
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Post: #20
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
as others have said, Evernote. I use Evernote to organize my personal thoughts (personal as well as business ideas). For more "official" ideas for collaboration with business partners we use Google Drive. I prefer not to use physical paper notes since they get lost easily and are difficult to organize.
09-06-2015 10:28 AM
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Saweeep Offline
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Post: #21
RE: How to organize your ideas on computer
I'm gonna give one of these ideas a go.

My trusty bound notebook and pen go everywhere with me; it is my own bible.

I've never managed to make the leap to digital. I've often thought it's due to the lack of physical connection that bringing a pen to paper gives. It could just be a generational thing...being born in the early 80s, computers didn't really become that useful to me till well into my teenage years.
09-07-2015 04:17 AM
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