15/04/2014, by

How Can I Turn My Mess of Ideas Into Something Organized and Useful?

In any kind of scientific communication clarity and simplicity are key, and organisation is definitely the path to simplicity. As Aristotle wrote: “A job well begun is half done”

So how do you go about it? I’ve found this link where you’ll find very useful tips (and where I’ve borrowed this blogpost title from)

A good idea, for example using tools (on websites and apps) to create “idea banks” such as “Evernote” and “Springpad” if you’re visual, as  both do a great job of making your ideas visual, fun to read, and easy to organize. “ResophNotes” (a note-taking app for Windows) for the classical, text-oriented people, or “Notational Velocity” for Mac users.

“Wunderlist”, “Trello”, and “Asana” are all great tools for not just tracking your ideas, but what you do with them and when (and they all allow you to collaborate with others)

Another useful tip is to use mind mapping (a technique for organizing your thoughts and brainstorming) to organize your ideas into a sequenced list. Or else use the “traditional” method and use pen and paper, as I suggested in my previous post, to help you brainstorm and organize your ideas the moment they come to you. First develop an outline to organise your ideas. With your notes then write a diagram or an outline that shows your main ideas and the order in which you are going to write about them: Write down all the main ideas. List the subordinate ideas below the main ideas. Avoid any repetition of ideas.

Just an example (photo under creative commons rights):


You’ll find a more sophisticated explanation here.

Here you’ll find useful tools to prioritise your ideas and create to-do-lists. I think this can be of help not only for your research and your writing but also for your personal life.

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