Addition Thanksgiving morning: Your responses in the comments below have already gotten juicy-good and taken this to the next level. Don’t miss ’em. And thanks!
Thanksgiving starts my annual season to reflect and look ahead. It started five years ago – my first blog, “The New Life of Patient Dave,” was born at Thanksgiving, just after my cancer. Each year since then it’s been my time to ask: with all I’ve seen in the past year, people I’ve met, concerns I’ve heard, what’s next? Who will I be in the coming year?
And this year I need help. Tool help, to organize my thoughts. Because there are a lot. So if you’ve faced this too, what have you learned?
The work ahead:
I have a headful of projects: books to write (and read), videos to produce, workshops to develop. It’s an all-at-once cross-linked cloud, a swarm of interconnected possibilites, each with its own inputs, each spewing a plume of possibilities.
Question one, every day is: Where to start?? When I give a speech, I have to start somewhere. But between speeches, I don’t need to and I don’t want to: I want to be organized but move all things forward as the thoughts arise. And that’s complicated.
So, I want to:
- capture them all (brain dump)
- start pursuing the ones that have shape
- nurture the ones that don’t.
All at once, switching constantly, because all the ideas cross-pollenate.
That means I want a tool. But I don’t want to go through yet another cycle of learning to use something then deciding “Meh – it’s not a game-changer.” So, time to ask the crowd! What have you used?
- Evernote seems to be the big dog (elephant) of “never forget.”
- Here’s the promo about the Android app from the Amazon page: “Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a Web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe. Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks. Search for notes by keywords, titles, and tags. Evernote magically makes printed and handwritten text inside your images searchable, too.”
- It’s got free and paid editions, and apps for Android as well as iPhone, plus cloud.
- Lots of comments below, from Evernote users.
- Workflowy is a newcomer, a different kind of beast that I heard about on Twitter recently. The cutesy 45 second YouTube on its home page says it’s “like a single piece of paper that can hold your entire brain” – nice idea, and they have some nice celebrity endorsements, but time will tell how it pans out.
- I’m unhappy about how uninformative the site is – the approach seems to be “Don’t ask questions, just start using it.”
- The best perspective I’ve seen on it (without much research) is the comments on this 2011 review, which get into different views of what you want a tool to do.
- That Workflowy review mentions OmniFocus, “designed to quickly capture your thoughts and allow you to store, manage, and process them into actionable to-do items.”
- The site says it’s perfect for the famous “Getting Things Done” system, which never worked for me, at all. Just waaay too linear.
- Plus, it’s a $79.75 downloadable app, and I want cloud. And it’s Apple-only. So, for me this is a non-starter.
- A review of Evernote on Amazon cited Springpad. I love Wade Roush’s “smackdown” comparison of the two, but it’s from April 2010. (I just tweeted him to ask if he’s done an update.)
- Wade mentions what could be a decisive feature, for me: the Evernote app lets you record a voice note. Man could that be useful – very often I get a thought while driving or walking and wish I could capture it.
- But oo, now it turns out Springpad has that, too!
- Here’s Springpad’s YouTube intro.
- And here’s the best diagram of the Springpad concept I’ve seen, from a reviewer’s blog – oddly, I can’t find this diagram on Springpad.com:
What do you use?