How to catalogue notes/ideas?

I end up in many meetings where I take lots of notes or come up with ideas that I may want to explore in the future.

What I really want to do is make these ideas searchable. So I naturally think I have to get them on a computer so I can search for ideas on keywords, or dates, or certain topics.

I considered just an Excel spreadsheet, or something in Word, so it'd be simple. But I end up in multiple office locations on multiple computers, so I didn't want to have to keep emailing the files to myself etc.

What I have ended up with is a Gmail email address where I send myself emails where the Subject is the idea title, then whatever level of detail I have in the body of the message and then throw in keywords or how I'll want to classify it. I later on will apply labels to the email.

Anyone have any improvements/suggestions on this?

As with any system, it's only as good as my level of commitment to it, and that isn't very consistent. I'm hoping to schedule 2 or three times a week where I'll catalogue all my ideas.

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ideas section

I actually started keeping an "ideas" section in my planner because there have been multiple times I've had a really cool idea, forgot it, and later remembered when I saw the idea implemented as a successful product. Sorry, I can't remember which ones. I didn't write it down :-(

If you want to do it in electronic format, there are a couple good options. For Mac users, check out the free program Journler - I used it for 4 months to track my last job hunt. I searched long and hard to find something similar for Windows that worked well. The only one I found that I liked was EverNote - which has a free version!

And now - some really good news. If you want to access your ideas & notes online and have a gmail account, you already should have access to what may be the best tool for your situation: Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Login to your gmail account and go to docs.google.com You can type up documents and spreadsheets and then assign tags or star the items to flag the important ones.

-Kenny

Google Notebook too!

And actually, Google has what may be an even better online tool for notes and ideas-- Google Notebook.

They even have a nifty extension for Firefox that makes its use seamless.

And if you prefer something else, there's Stikkit

A couple other ideas for the curious.... Although I'm personally warming up to the idea of using Gmail. :-)

-Jon

too late

I was just coming over here to suggest Google Notebook, but you beat me to it! Gmail is a good idea too.

Gmail is searchable

Because gmail is searchable, you may be able to skip the 'apply labels' step - just search the whole inbox for the keywords you've already embedded in the email.

great idea - using a separate gmail account as an idea bank! thanks!

frano