Capturing. It’s an action that I repeat every day. Although I don’t have exact figures for it, I probably manage about fifty captures a day depending on the context of the capture. Bookmarks, snippets, thoughts, images, posts, code and more. They’re all captured into various places and then reviewed, read or actioned on at a later date. Here’s a few examples of the things I’m capturing during the day.
Thoughts and ideas
I’m now getting into the habit of journaling about four times a day. Through the day I’ll capture ideas, thoughts and challenges that I’ve faced. I might come across an idea for a small application or I’ll make a note about a bit of work that needs to be automated. It like a private social feed back to myself. At the end of the day is my review of the day. I do this every day.
Web pages get captured in three places at the moment. The first place is Evernote. Anything that’s interesting on App.net is starred. I have a recipe on IFTTT that reads my favourited posts from my timeline there and posts them to my Evernote account.
The second place is the Safari Reading List. I moved for this from Instapaper a few weeks ago. This tends to be for posts that I’ve found interesting in Feedbin and would like to look at later on.
The third and last place is my private bookmarking application. A couple of months back, I decided to roll my own bookmarking application. It’s far from complete but it serves it’s purpose for the moment.
Actions are still a work in progress. Previously I would capture all actions in TaskPaper and then during my weekly review, assign them to a list. For reasons I mentioned in another post, I decided to switch to Todoist for all my list management needs. Anything that requires actioning is added here to the inbox list so that I can assign it to a project or folder during my weekly review.
This wouldn’t be a capture post unless I wrote about my inbox. I tend to keep my inbox fairly clutter free. I carefully vet email subscriptions on a monthly basis and I use a lot of rules that shuffle emails about to various folders. I don’t think of my email as multiple inboxes, I tend to view as just one. I have the keyboard navigation pretty much memorised so that I can switch from one folder to another and read and organise emails as I need too.
Most of the emails I do receive are either deleted or filed away on folders, but for a small percentage of them though I forward them onto Evernote. After losing a few important emails a couple of months ago, I’ve decided to invest in Evernote as a place for important information that I can’t afford to lose.
Still too many inboxes
One thing that has become clear from these captures that I do the most is that I still have too many inboxes to maintain. All in I’m sitting at five inboxes at the moment. That’s still too many for me.
In a perfect world I would have one inbox that is connected to all the other products and services that I use and lets me move and organise items according to their context, but that’s an idea for another day.
At the moment, I think the best I can do is identify a place where I capture the most items and make it integrate with other inboxes with some kind of automated workflow. I can do this easily enough with the tools I have on my MacBook Pro possibly using scripts, but the challenge will be making this work on my iPhone or iPad.