In my ongoing quest to live by "Getting Things Done" (GTD), I am always looking for ways to maximize each principle. One recommendation that is very important is to identify what my collection tools are (and use them).
Collection tools (or capture devices) allow me to capture important thoughts as they happen. For example, I have a 30-45 minute commute to work each way. Instead of listening to the radio, I typically allow for "free thinking". What If I happen to have an idea for how to solve a technical problem while I am driving? What if I suddenly remembered I needed to email someone? What if I had a great anniversary gift idea? What if I had all of these ideas, but because I could not capture them, they vanished away? A collection tool allows me to make sure my thoughts get persisted somehow. With that said, here are my two favorite collection tools:
Jott.com allows me to speed dial to a voice activated system that allows me to verbally "jott" my thoughts. The Jott service then converts my voice message to text and sends me an email. This is fantastic for when I am commuting back and forth to work. I typically jott 5-10 times each commute. This has been an incredible way to not let important thoughts escape from me.
This is by far my favorite collection tool. I can not count how many times this has come to my aid. Many times at work someone will mention something that I want to follow up with. I might be at Starbucks and suddenly have an idea while I am standing in line. I can discreetly take out my wallet with pen and paper and write down whatever is needed. In the past, I tried to use my PDA for this, but it was never as quick and simple as the wallet alternative. I also have observed that it appears to be much more socially acceptable to take pen & paper out to take a note when in conversation than to use a PDA.
These are my primary collection tools. Does anyone else have a great system for capturing ideas?