capture everything: the incubator

February 24, 2008 | 8 Comments

This is last post in a series on capturing everything. Previous entries:

In a time of growing self awareness a few years ago, I quietly proclaimed myself to be a content creator. I had awakened to the fact that I experience great satisfaction when generating and sharing ideas with others. When I am feeling out of sorts, I realized that it is often because I haven’t found avenues to express myself. Thankfully, between teaching opportunities at my church, maintaining multiple blogs, writing papers for grad school, and a few other writing projects, I generally can find opportunities to share the rattlings of my brain.

At the heart of creating regular content is having something to say. If I don’t think I have something worth saying, I am not creating content. It’s that simple. Much of this series on capturing everything has been about capturing ideas to share. It is not just enough to capture those ideas, but to organize them and help them evolve. I use Yojimbo as an incubator to review and develop those ideas further, but I hope the description below can be helpful to someone using any system.

When ideas are captured into Yojimbo, they end up in my collection of “Untagged Items”. This becomes a file of ideas to sort. Once or twice a week, I go through this folder and tag the notes. Possible blog entries are tagged to_blog. An idea for an upcoming teaching is tagged teaching and current. And so on. If there is an idea that I want to think about more, but that I’m not sure where to put it, it ends up with the tag incubator.

In the image to the left, you can see an example of some of the tag collections I have to help sort out some of these notes. As you might expect, most of these notes end up with tags that might put them in multiple collections.

None of this is worthwhile unless I actually give these ideas the space to incubate. I regularly take time to review these folders to keep the ideas going through my head. Sometimes, I’ll see that two or three potential blog posts might be related, and I’ll copy and paste from one to put them together. Or I might find that one thought might be the Romeo to another idea’s Juliet. Sometimes, I might see a longer series emering, like this post is a part of. I often find that the ideas just need more time. They might not be complete yet, but it is reviewing them that keeps them active in my mind.

This system of gathering and reviewing my thoughts is always changing as I find ways to streamline or improve it. In fact, it has only been as I describe it here for the past few months. I would love to hear from others about how you organize and develop some of the ideas that you capture.