The devil’s in the details as the saying goes. Goodness me, this so true.
When it comes to great copy – I don’t care if we’re talking blog posts, Facebook statuses, feature articles or thank you notes – it’s the small details which make the difference. Heck, these small details could be the brainstorming spark you need for reevaluating your business’ goals.
What kind of small details?
It could be anything! It could be a quote, a colleagues’ musing hypothesis or a client’s out of the blue question. It could be a detail about how the room smelled, the unexpected guest at a party or even where you were seated at a conference.
The kicker is – you never know which small detail you might need. This is exactly why it’s important to take notes.
No matter what industry you’re in, keeping a record of where you’ve been, who said what, and little things that caught your attention is incredibly useful.
How do you record details without it feeling like a full time job? These are a few if the tricks I use:
iPhone Notes – When I first started writing, I was told to carry a pen and paper with me everywhere I went. I did so dutifully. It was very cumbersome. And, sometimes it was inappropriate, such as at a cocktail party.
However, I always have my phone. I’m guessing, this is also true for you. When something happens – I meet a new prospect, I hear some really interesting advice or I get a great topic idea – I quickly jot it down in Notes. (If you happen to be at a cocktail party, you’ll probably want to excuse yourself and do this in the bathroom.)
Dictate – I get tons of great ideas while driving. Whether I’m driving home post-event or I’m on a road trip, I keep a dictaphone close at hand. This allows me to easily capture these ideas. (My dictaphone also happens to be my phone. I use a free app called ‘AudioMemos.’)
Google Docs Spreadsheets – iPhone Notes and dictations are wonderful. But you’ll also want to take the time to compile these thoughts in one central location. Typically I do this at the end of the day. (It takes me less then 10 minutes!)
I like to do it on a Google Docs Spreadsheet for four simple reasons:
It’s endlessly large allowing the document to grow and evolve easily over time.
It’s easy to organize which lets me move ideas around as needed.
It’s searchable so I can find past ideas without wasting time.
It’s shareable letting me collaborate as need be.
I even add links from helpful resources to my spreadsheet, letting me easily find and reference them again.
Do you have any good tricks or tips for keeping track of details?