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(Archived) Brainstorming in Evernote

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Hi gang,

The other night I had an idea for a classic to do flow chart. Since I was already half asleep (I get powerful inspirations at night which won't let me go back to sleep until I write them down), I tried to use Evernote but failed because it wasn't visual enough for what I needed. I ended up grabbing per and paper instead, and in the morning I wasn't happy for a few reasons.

  • I strongly believe that I should only use Evernote to capture and write down ideas, and no other app. This is less because of my loyalty to the app and more the fact that I want to use one tool for all my ideas rather then have them scattered in different locations.
  • Getting up at 3am to sit at a chair and draw something can be fun, but I need something quick and available. A notebook and light are not as available as my phone or as Evernote.
  • I tend to lose papers. Evernote sticks around and my ideas are saved.

So I know Evernote has an inknote option (I have the windows client), and I even have a Bamboo simple tablet that could work, but personally I never got used to it. Even though I like visual diagrams a lot, I suck at drawing them by hand and much rather use an app to aid me. The problem with thats is I get to "obsessed" with the visuals and forget myself in my own drawings, wasting time on how thick the arrows are, how the gradient for the boxes look like and the fonts I'm using. This is the main reason why brainmapping software was never a good idea for me to write ideas down.

In other words: Evernote keeps things simple which is good. I need to find a way to "code" visual information for flow charts and mindmaps into Evernote. Any suggestions?

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Since Evernote generally does not publish their roadmap, we don't really know what they may offer in the future. Having said that, I would be very suprised if EN added features for drawing and/or mindmaps, especially since they already have Skitch.

The way I use Evernote to capture my ideas when I'm not at my Mac, is to use my iPhone and dictate the key points of my idea into Evernote. This includesd late night/early morning/just-ouot-of-the-shower ideas. ;)

On the iPhone, anywere you can type text you can dictate by tapping on the mic icon.

There a number of EN Trunk apps that are better for quick entry of a new note into EN than EN itself. A lot of people like "Clever".

Here's a review someone did of Clever:

My review of Clever - third party Evernote client for iPhone

If you really want to draw something when you wake up, check the EN Trunk Store for apps that might support this.

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I don't want to create anything visual inside Evernote now that I think about it. The reason is, like I explained, it takes too much time for me because I try to make it pretty and I forget myself in the features I can use. I need something simple, quick and ugly. Something like that:

  • Item 1
    • Yes
      • Go to Item 2


      • Go to item 1

    [*]Item 2

See what I mean? A simple "code" like that can be drawn into a flow chart later. What do you think?

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I want to make it as simple as possible. I don't know if downloading an app would work. Even if the app is in Evernote Trunk for windows (which is what I use) I can't use it on my chromebook, which is where I do most of my create work. If I figure out a way to do this inside Evernote like above, I think I'll have a good solution.. I'm just not happy with what I have so far.

On the other hand, if you know a dead simple outlining app that can work with Evernote quickly, let me know :)

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I just discovered WorkFlowy.com as an outlining app, but it is web based so you'd need an internet connection. The app will send you a daily email of your changes which you can then dump into evernote. Or you can export any of your outlines and copy into EN when you feel like it.

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