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I had this fantastic idea yesterday. Wait, what was it again?

You don’t ever want to be saying that, even if the idea in question might turn out to be not-so-great after all.

Ideas are notorious for being unpredictable and elusive Short Of Ideas For Your Next Project? Here Are 5 Web Tricks To Help Short Of Ideas For Your Next Project? Here Are 5 Web Tricks To Help Stuck for ideas? No problem. There are several ways to get past that mental block and come up with great ideas for your upcoming projects using online methods. Read More . There’s not much you can do about the former, but you can capture your ideas in a snap before they vanish into the ether.

Setting up a central system to track your ideas is worth the time and effort it requires. Your creativity and productivity will thank you for it. Here’s one effective way to go about storing your ideas, and it involves using the simplicity of IFTTT.

Build Your Digital Idea Notebook

The benefit of a digital notebook lies in its 24/7 accessibility and its capability to sort and search for ideas. A paper notebook 6 Simple Reasons Why Paper Can Still Be Your Killer Productivity App 6 Simple Reasons Why Paper Can Still Be Your Killer Productivity App Paper can be a more potent tool for productivity than a computer or a touch device, and shouldn't immediately be dismissed. Not convinced? Here are six reasons why paper is still relevant. Read More has its own set of advantages. This is not a contest between the two. Who says you can’t use both?

idea-notebook

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You’re free to use any number of note-taking methods. Just ensure that no matter where you jot down your ideas, they all end up in the same location. This makes it easy to retrieve the right kind of inspiration when you need it.

Begin by selecting a service to host your idea notebook. Evernote and Simplenote are two of your top options. If you prefer a visual approach to ideas, pick Google Keep or Diigo. You could save your ideas in text files on Dropbox, in email drafts, in Google Drive How To Use Google Drive To Capture Your Great Ideas & Never Lose Them How To Use Google Drive To Capture Your Great Ideas & Never Lose Them Move over Evernote -- here's how you can use Google Drive to keep and grow your ideas. With the Google tools at your fingertips, put them all to good use for nurturing your ideas. Read More , or even in a dedicated Slack channel. An unusual approach is okay as long as it works for you.

Of course, if you’re planning to use IFTTT, Evernote is the most flexible option you have.

Once you have decided which note-taking application you want to use for your primary idea book:

  • Create folders to organize your existing ideas based on topic, mood, relevance, etc. (avoid deep levels of nesting)
  • Tag your ideas to locate the right ones with ease
  • Install the app on all your devices and keep it ready for quick, effortless access
  • Follow the same organizational structure for new ideas

Psst…Worried about losing your best ideas because you often get them in the shower? Buy a waterproof notepad to write them down.

aqua-notes

Now that you have a home for your ideas, it’s time to redirect incoming ones to this centralized location. That’s where IFTTT comes in.

Set up IFTTT

IFTTT is a brilliant web service that connects (in pairs) various digital services and products you use. It allows you to create If-Then conditional statements or recipes that work, like:

If there’s an update to app X, then update app Y.

In Feb 2015, IFTTT rebranded its mobile app to IF. It also released a set of three mobile apps that let you activate IFTTT recipes with a single tap IFTTT Launches Do Note, Do Button, Do Camera for One-Tap Actions IFTTT Launches Do Note, Do Button, Do Camera for One-Tap Actions Popular "If This Then That" service IFTTT has launched three new apps that are sure to make your life a bit easier. Learn everything you need to know about them! Read More . For example, with DO Camera, you can click a photo on your smartphone and have it sent to your Dropbox. With DO Button, you can escape from a life-sucking meeting by sending yourself a phone call. DO Note does exactly as it sounds — sends a text note to any service you set up.

The main glitch with these DO apps is that you’re restricted to three recipes per app. Choose your recipes well. For an in-depth look at the potential of IFTTT, read our guide on how to use IFTTT like a pro The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro IFTTT is an automation that will enable you to connect 2 services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. Read More .

ifttt-do-apps

How do IFTTT and its mobile apps fit into your idea-gathering strategy? Here’s how:

  • They make it easier and faster to capture ideas and…
  • They help you automate the process of saving them to your digital notebook

Find The Right IFTTT Connections

You have set up an IFTTT account and understand how recipes work. Now it’s time to make the right connections to ensure that the flow of your ideas from “captured” to “saved” is smooth. Here are a few examples to help you get started. There are already pre-made recipes to make your job easier. You can customize each recipe to your need.

Record your idea as a voice memo using Siri and send it via SMS to Evernote. Here’s an IFTTT recipe you can try.

Photograph unusual patterns and color schemes and share them with your design team on Slack. Here’s an IFTTT recipe that lets you share photos on Slack.

do-slack

Email yourself the location of useful shops to explore.

Star articles around a certain theme in Pocket and get them sent to your inbox weekly.

Write an outline for your next blog post and send it to Dropbox. Use this Take-a-note IFTTT recipe.

Append your ideas to an email digest that’s delivered to you once a week. Get all your good ideas with this IFTTT recipe.

Scan sketchnotes How To Visualize Ideas, Information & Data Using Sketchnoting How To Visualize Ideas, Information & Data Using Sketchnoting If you're a student or someone who takes notes a regular basis, you may be interested in a fun and even artistic movement called Sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is like notetaking, but it includes visual notes as... Read More or take snapshots of your paper-based ideas and send them to your email.

sketchnote

Create photo notes and send them to Evernote. With this IFTTT recipe.

Export interesting gift ideas from Etsy to Pinboard. This IFTTT recipe saves lots of time during gift season.

Create an Evernote mood board using Instagram pics with a specific hashtag. You can even create your own Instagram photo diary in Evernote.

instagram-tag-patterns

Put Your Ideas on a Schedule

Ideas can strike any time and you must be ready for them. But it’s just as important to work on generating ideas on a schedule. Also, ideas are of no use if you save them and forget about them. You need to revisit and review them from time to time.

Use a Date & Time IFTTT recipe to schedule your brainstorming and idea review sessions. While you’re at it, set up a recurring reminder to go on an Artist Date – a weekly solo outing to spark your imagination.

schedule-a-session

Don’t Let Your Ideas Escape

Nurturing old ideas is easier than coming up with new ones, so ensure that none of your ideas get away from you. With a proper system in place to capture your brain-waves, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

As your notebook grows, your ideas will feed off each other and give rise to fresh and unusual connections. Whenever you’re stuck for ideas, just reach into your notebook like a magician reaching into a hat. Out will come an idea, or three.

Do you use IFTTT to making capturing and storing ideas simpler? Which IF and DO recipes are your favorites? Share them in the comments.

Image Credits: Cristiano Betta via Compfight cc , neillyneil via Compfight cc

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