How My Digital Note Database Enhances My Creativity
Updated: Nov 24, 2019
My digital note database is a dynamic tool that "enhances my creativity." This seems unrealistic. The more understandable definition is a place to store information, that you would otherwise forget, for later reprocessing.
The majority of my notes are made for projects. Jobs with variables and moving parts. My database right now, even at a fraction of what it will be, covers a wide range of topics that are applicable to most of the work I do. Some of my most heavily used topics are communication, deep thinking, and overcoming creative obstacles.
I have been using this system for a month and already seen improvement in my ability to inform. Every note I save in Evernote, becomes a resource I can then use in any related conversation.This does not happen just by collecting anything that is interesting. The data needs to be filtered.
How I capture
This app is integrated with all of my devices. This means I can edit and have access to everything I have found helpful in the past. There are a few ways I capture these concepts. For my laptop, it's a web-clipper extension that allows me to take screenshots, simplified articles, or entire websites and save them directly to a particular place in my data base. For my phone, I have the Evernote app and two other partner apps that let me scan documents and markup any pdf, map, or image. The ability to store data in any format, mixed with the mobility of my phone, creates the opportunity for me to collect valuable insights from virtually any situation.
How I organize
The difference between a data base and a pile of notes is organization. If you cannot efficiently sort and find what you need in the moment, there is little to no point in collecting notes in the first place. Every note I take is put into one of 4 main categories. Projects (within a month), ongoing responsibilities (beyond a month), resources, and archives.
This system ensures that only value-packed information is collected and then put into a digestible format.
How I implement
Implementation of this data base doesn't mean being able to create content or solve a problem on demand. My notes help orchestrate solutions only after effort is put into connecting the ideas. For example, I am in the process of creating a new about-me video for my website. Even though the actual production of this video will happen next week, I created a folder for it about a month ago.
I have been slowly adding to it opportunistically, so only the most valuable points from the month are stored. So when next week comes, production will be much more efficient because the leg work is already done. Implementation of Evernote is less the ability to produce content JUST with the notes, and more about incubating ideas and project management.
I use Evernote to store valuable, high-potential information. Beyond that, the process of finding a particular note is so efficient that it helps me connect one idea to another in a way I otherwise wouldn't (the basis of creativity), unless that information was right in front of me. As with anything, you have to keep at it or it won't improve. I plan to revisit my database at least every week, to add new ideas or spark inspiration. Creating a digital note data base has improved, and will continue to improve, my learning capability and creativity.