Saving string

Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri (Creative Commons)

I listened to one of my favorite podcasts recently, called Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” and heard her talking about “saving string.” She described it as a journalism phrase meaning to “find ways to save your little bits of ideas.”

I can identify! I have a folder of clippings from magazines, notes on pieces of paper, in notebooks, on my Notes app on my phone, and on my computer in Evernote. Sometimes I take a picture of something to write about or deal with later. I am constantly collecting bits and pieces – and then what?

My problem is that I gather all these ideas and tidbits, but don’t have a system for assembling or retrieving them. Sure there are methods – like tags in Evernote, or to use one process instead of several for the actual gathering phase – but I’ve not taken the time to work through that. Like many things in my life, I haven’t taken the time up front to work out a system to follow. Instead I panic when I see something I want to save and just pick the quickest method at that moment to capture it. That’s not very smart.

I do wonder how many great concepts are floating “out there” as snippets in a notebook or on my phone that could be useful to me. Whether they are ideas for writing, decorating, productivity or things to do, the good news is that I have great ideas captured. That I can’t easily access them is a small issue, really, and now that I’m aware of it, I can work on figuring out a better way to save so I can retrieve easily.

So I would love to know how you collect ideas to use later?