70,000 thoughts per day is an awful lot. It could be a myth, but there’s no denying that we have an awful lot of thoughts per day.
Random thoughts — sometimes totally unrelated to the job we are on — is our nature. Some of them are atoms worth following for their inspirational and creative flickers.
Capture them with the browser.
The computer is where we spend most of our waking hours these days. Second only to our smartphones. There are different ways to capture thoughts and ideas — from do-it-all digital notebooks like Evernote to something as simple as a notepad. Evernote and OneNote are paperless bear-traps. For trapping thoughts in seconds, let’s look into ten of the simplest note-taking Google Chrome extensions.
Super Simplicity with a5
It’s difficult to describe this ultra-simple note-taking tool. Because there is nothing to describe. The screenshot above says it all. Developer Jason Cooper built it to save his own thoughts, and it should work just as well for you. Unless you clear your browser’s cache, your thoughts will be there… preserved.
Task on a New Tab with Jot
There’s a flood of extensions giving us something new on a fresh tab page. Jot gives you a beautiful landscape as a backdrop for your to-dos and thoughts. The extension is simple enough with the cognitive benefits of a soothing photo to match your written thoughts.
Collaborate with a Thought Plan
Simple text is the simplest. But it doesn’t give your thoughts the structure it could do with. That’s where Markdown syntax comes in. Start learning Markdown and you will appreciate that it is just as easy as sans-frill text, but with the frills if you want it to.
Just open up a new document and start typing anything that’s on your mind. Click anywhere on the page and your thought plan will be ready to save. You can organize your thoughts in categories and navigate through. Generate a read-only link to share your thoughts with anyone.
Thought Plan is in beta, but early users will appreciate its speed and simplicity. If you are still thinking of learning Markdown, try this 10-minute video tutorial that accompanies our free PDF Markdown guide that I linked to above.
Keep Track with Hashtags on Fetchnotes
Trapping a stray thought in the act or deliberately saving something nice you read on the web. That describes the interaction we want from our note taking apps. Fetchnotes does both well. Like all note-taking all-rounders it also syncs across all your devices. Fetchnotes is available for iOS and Android, along with the web clipper extension on Chrome. Use the widgets for your Mac, Windows, or Linux desktop.
Fetchnotes keeps everything simple after you sign up:
Group notes together with hashtags. Simply put a pound sign ( # ) in front of any word to add a note to that category. You can even use hashtags inline and Fetchnotes will automatically files them away under that category.
Share your note with just an ampersand (@). Use a name in your address book, a username, an email or a phone number to share quickly.
Collaborate on a note with anyone you share with.
We had taken an early look at Fetchnotes in 2011. Fetchnotes is being improved every day, so expect a slew of features along its development cycle.
Organize Your Brain with Workflowy
Every good idea needs an outline. Some brainstormers call it pre-writing. Names don’t matter because outlining your thoughts helps organize them before you can flesh them out further. The simplicity of Workflowy hides the fact that it can also be used to jot down quick lists or even as a project management tool.
Write down your thoughts. Take that single thought and create other ideas or thoughts under it. When you come to it later, you can expand or collapse the thought and see it as a whole. Workflowy has a Chrome app too.
Annotate the Web with Sidenotes
Note down your observations on the websites you visit with this neat clean-cut note-taking extension. Authorize Dropbox to allow syncing and you are good to go. It opens up instantly with a shortcut key or a click on the icon. Sidenotes – as the name suggests – uses a sidebar for the notepad. Start typing your thoughts. A green “sync” flashing icon is the signal that those thoughts are going successfully into your private Dropbox account.
Notes are linked to the websites they were made on. Recording my own observations – on a longform article for instance — has helped me go back to those notes and become a more analytical reader. The private Dropbox folder can be turned into a journal as you go around the web writing down your thoughts.
Advanced Data Management with Beyondpad
For the simple note-taker, this new Chrome app is overkill. But Beyondpad is designing it to be as simple or complex as you want it. It uses “trackers” for the data and tags for organization. The app comes with many trackers which are templates – from a time tracker to a mindmap. Create a to-do list, put up a schedule on a calendar, track your expenses and cashflow, use the timer like a Pomodoro or for timesheets. The app is new and some of the features are shown as “Coming Soon”. A free version (with quotas) and a pro version seems to be in the offing.
Beyondpad doesn’t want you to reach for separate applications and speed bump your productivity. You can customize the way you use the app with your trackers and arrange all your notes with tags. Stay tuned as it goes through the build cycles.
Mindmap Away with Coggle
When creative blocks stop you, try a mindmap. Mindmaps break the hierarchical nature of our thoughts and improve upon the usual way of taking notes. Paper is best, but online mindmapping tools come with the benefit of speed and elegance. Coggle proves the truth in these adjectives. Coggle is a Chrome app acting as a short-cut to the main mindmapping site.
Sign-up with Google, and start with your first mindmap. As you can see from the video below, it is very easy to create the items and the child items. Coggle doesn’t go overboard with features and keeps it simple and elegant. Speed it up with the keyboard shortcuts.
Post-it with Stickies
Who doesn’t love stickies. You can find their physical counterparts inserted between books and stuck on corkboards. The digital stickie is just as useful for noting down thoughts quickly when you are visiting a webpage. Prefer the shortcut (Ctrl+Q) over the click on the icon for speedier notetaking. You can also highlight a section and drag ‘n drop it into the Stickies. Pin the stickie to the webpage and it will appear whenever you come back to it.
Resize the stickies to the length of your notes or collapse it to an unobtrusive corner for quick access. Just like its physical version, you can view all your stickies on a “corkboard” or the Sticky Board. All your stickies are searchable from here.
Stay Close to Google with Google Keep
If you are not in the habit of straying far from your Google account, then Google’s very own note-keeping extension should do the job well. Google Keep is deceptively useful for both Chrome and Android. It was born as a replica of digital Post-it notes for your quick thoughts. It has quietly added features while keeping its simplicity intact. Add your random thoughts and reminders. Transcribe voice notes on the go with Android. Collaborate with a share. And keep it all neat with colors.
One of the little known features is text recognition, which is useful when you want to pull the text from a motivational photo and share it. Mihir shows you some great tips for better notes with Google Keep.
Your Note-Taking Extension of Choice?
Notetaking extensions find a place in any productivity toolkit. What used to be a quick scrawl on a yellow legal pad, now finds a place in our desktops. There are no doubt a few on yours as well. Tell us about your recommendation for a Chrome note-taking extension? Do you prefer features or simplicity?
Image Credits: thoughtful woman Via Shutterstock