Scratch File

I’m a morning person. I do my best writing early in the morning, when I’m fresh and distractions are limited. But, that’s not when my best ideas usually arrive.

My best ideas come late at night or when I let my mind wander during manual tasks, like washing the dishes. Unfortunately, by the time I’m ready to write, those ideas are usually long gone.

So, I bridge the time gap with a scratch file. This can take any number of forms.

I’ll use a kanban-style organizer (like Trello) if I want to organize a lot of ideas into different categories (e.g., blog post topics). And, I’ll use a card-based system (like Evernote) when I want to write longer narratives about each idea (e.g., chapters in a book).

If I just want an ongoing list to process later (e.g., business ideas I may never return to, but don’t want to lose), I’ll pull out an old fashioned spreadsheet (like Google Sheets). And, sometimes, I end up just sending myself a series of emails as reminders.

This is my system. It’s far from perfect, but I’ve refined it through trial and error over time, and it works pretty well me. Your mileage may vary.

And, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to match the right tool to the task at hand. When in doubt, I find that the act and discipline of keeping the scratch file adds far more value than getting the format right.

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