Get It Out Of Your Head: Siri & Evernote
Stop trying to remember anything! If it needs to get done, get it out of your head. We’re not machines. Our ability to remember is hit and miss at best.
Technology is making us more forgetful, not necessarily more effective. We’re buried in emails, texts, social media, invitations to events, marketing, and more. Too much information for anyone to remember. We need to forget most of that stuff. Let’s put the few things that are truly important somewhere we can count on. Not in our memory.
In 2002, after doing a productivity seminar with Mission Control in New York City, I started to carry a mini-notepad with me to keep from forgetting anything important. I kept it in my back pocket. Whenever I told someone I would do something, I would immediately take out the notepad and write down the details of my promise. The next morning I’d transfer all yesterday’s notes to my calendar. This system worked really well for a decade.
In 2012, I bought my first iPhone with Siri voice interaction. I specifically bought it because of Siri. By speaking my notes into the phone, I was able to retire my paper notepad. What’s really awesome is that the iPhone eliminated the time I took each morning moving my notes to my calendar. I would just tell it, “Create a calendar event for next Thursday at eight thirty a.m., speak to Joe’, and it put my note right in my calendar for me, with an alarm. Siri saves me 30-45 minutes a day that I used to spend reviewing and scheduling my notes from the day before. That’s how technology is meant to be: less work for me, same result or better.
Capturing Creative Ideas
The above equally applies to the creative process. I’m paraphrasing academic music educator and music journalist James Linderman…
“The first difference between an amateur and a professional songwriter, is that the professional is diligent about capturing creative ideas. He or she doesn’t trust that they’ll remember the lyric, melody, chords or rhythm later.”
Simple creative moments can seem insignificant, but what if the melody you just came up with has hit song potential? Or if an amazing plot twist for the book you are writing just comes to you in the middle of the day? Don’t just hope to remember it later.
For my creative process, I found a simple way to capture ideas in multiple formats and file them together, so that they are easy to reference later. I use a free app called Evernote that lets me make notes, dictate voice to text, and record low quality audio. Evernote syncs up between my iPhone, my iPad, my desktop at home, and my computer at work. If I have a creative idea, it doesn’t matter where I am, it gets captured. Then its waiting for me on whichever device I want to work on when I’m ready to take it further.
Discovering What Works For Each of Us
You are a creative person ready for productivity. Everyone is different, so we all have to discover our own best practices for capturing and developing our projects.
If you don’t have a system that works for you, start to think about what you would need to do to maximize your effectiveness. Feel free to ask questions and we’ll hopefully get some great responses from the other readers.
If you’re system is working, then please share your own process.