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GHall

productivity Visual Notes

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I've been thinking about intuitive forms of non-text notes that could be incorporated into an Evernote note workflow. The idea is to take a picture of something in the natural world that "cues" the photographer to perform an action. The intuition results from the connection between the photographer's need to do a task and the memory of the experience of taking the picture. Such that when the photographer views the picture, he knows the task to be completed.

This is valuable because our memories hold vast amounts of information. This information is invoked when the photographer reviews his photo. Putting this information into text, on the other hand, would be a lot of work and take more time. When we directly experience something, we gain more information quicker than we could by reading the same amount of time. Reading is a slower way to learn. Have you ever tried to learn something by reading? Has anyone ever showed you how to do something? Which was quicker?

For example, suppose I need to fix hinges on a door. On old doors it is common to find hinge screws that are stripped and failing to securely hold the hinge tight to the door or door jamb. The result is a door that swings improperly and hangs up on the latch side of the door where the door meets the jamb. If the home owner in this case, were to take a photo of the door or door hinge or the damage to the door jamb where the door bumps the jamb, any of these images could serve as cues to repair the door.

The idea is to have a series of notes that are just photographs of to-do's. These would remind the photographer what projects need work. I suppose they could also be used to tell someone what needs to be done, let's say in the door case above by sharing with a landlord.

My sense is that there is a possible method to a picture only kind of note system for projects and to-do's. My concern is with the organization or cataloging of them.

I suppose the pictures could be named using a standard naming scheme. I also suppose tags could be used.

Anyone have any other ideas?

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i do this now in a very limited sense. i was recently at a conference where recently published books were on display. in the past i would have written them down, but instead i photographed them with my iphone and sent them to evernote. i'll buy/borrow them later.

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I use pictures, mind maps, diagrams and etc. all the time as project support or take pictures or screenshots as a way to capture all kinds of stuff into my inbox. I think lots of people do it. Heck, I even use videos which I recorded myself as a project support in some cases...

I don't need my next actions as pictures, they're clearly processed into real clear physical doable actions, e.g. Transfer money, wash bag, setup email forwarding, fix this, google that and etc. etc.

When you don't really follow standard gtd practicies and don't want to make front end decisions about what stuff means to you and answer 2 basic questions (because it's too much effort), i.e. what's the succesful outcome and what is the next step - then you're just left with pictures and nothing is ever clearly defined... :)

You're just confusing actions with support materials and keep everything burried in a single pile, that's basically how I see this.

On a side note I think instead of sticking to methods which work in practice you're trying to re-invent the wheel even when there's nothing new in those approaches...

It’s certainly partly a backlash to the personal productivity movement, with GTD at the centre. But maybe it’s also the new GTD. Instead of doing work, people are still tinkering. But now they do so under the guise of ‘reducing’ or ‘simplifying’. But in the end, it’s the same issue.

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i do this now in a very limited sense. i was recently at a conference where recently published books were on display. in the past i would have written them down, but instead i photographed them with my iphone and sent them to evernote. i'll buy/borrow them later.

I've done this too. A cover will often have both the title and author. It will also give me other non-verbal cues, making spotting the book on a Webpage or bookstore display shelf quicker and easier than a text only approach. That's what I'm talking about. I just want to find a sleek way to organize them without typing. Taking a picture and then providing a one sentence audio clip about the photo that would automatically be converted to searchable text would be ideal. Then it would be searchable by text without the need to type.

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I use pictures, mind maps, diagrams and etc. all the time as project support or take pictures or screenshots as a way to capture all kinds of stuff into my inbox. I think lots of people do it. Heck, I even use videos which I recorded myself as a project support in some cases...

I don't need my next actions as pictures, they're clearly processed into real clear physical doable actions, e.g. Transfer money, wash bag, setup email forwarding, fix this, google that and etc. etc.

When you don't really follow standard gtd practicies and don't want to make front end decisions about what stuff means to you and answer 2 basic questions (because it's too much effort), i.e. what's the succesful outcome and what is the next step - then you're just left with pictures and nothing is ever clearly defined... :)

You're just confusing actions with support materials and keep everything burried in a single pile, that's basically how I see this.

On a side note I think instead of sticking to methods which work in practice you're trying to re-invent the wheel even when there's nothing new in those approaches...

It’s certainly partly a backlash to the personal productivity movement, with GTD at the centre. But maybe it’s also the new GTD. Instead of doing work, people are still tinkering. But now they do so under the guise of ‘reducing’ or ‘simplifying’. But in the end, it’s the same issue.

I'm not talking about the GTD methodology. Ultimately some methodology would result from a practice of using visual actions but not talking about that here. I'm talking about using non-verbal information to create extensions of thought that would elicit memories of the creation experience and provide stronger reminders. I just want to be able to do this efficiently and without typing or very little typing.

One way to do this without typing would be to take the photo using iPhone and have it uploaded to a specific visual actions folder that would get reviewed. Ultimately I can invision a system becomes one with the user.

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I'm talking about using non-verbal information to create extensions of thought that would elicit memories of the creation experience and provide stronger reminders.

Right... just organize those "visual notes" by projects/succesful outcomes.

They're just support materials...

Ultimately I can invision a system becomes one with the user.

Yep, I'm using that system already with iPad/iPhone and Evernote/Omnifocus and etc. Could be nice to control it with just my thoughts but the touch interface will have to do for now...

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