Select Page

Have you ever wondered how to capture ideas, especially when they pop into your head at the most inconvenient times? The best thoughts always seem to happen whenever we’re somewhere we can’t write them down. Like when we’re driving. Or in the shower. Or in the middle of a workout at the gym. It’s frustrating.

This guide is going to walk you through the strategies and tools I use to make sure I never miss an important idea, thought, or task.

Things you’ll need

Here’s the checklist of stuff you’ll need. We’ll go into detail about each below.

Required

  • A Todoist account (free+)
  • An IFTTT account (free)
  • A mobile phone with Google Assistant installed (Android or iOS)

Optional

  • Google Home (or Amazon Echo)
  • Smart watch with Google Assistant capabilities

Digital task-tracker: Todoist (free + premium optional)

Sign up for Todoist here

The first step on the path to capturing ideas anywhere is having a solid task-tracking method.

After extensive testing of a number of methods, including Asana, Trello, bullet journaling, Todoist, Excel, and Google Sheets, I have concluded that Todoist is the best, simplest app to use to keep track of all of your tasks and ideas.

Todoist is the simplest and most effective app I’ve tried. And, as a result, I’ve stuck with it for longer than any other method.

Here’s a quick overview of the app’s functions:

The Inbox feature

In terms of today’s conversation, I love Todoist for its Inbox feature.

Trying to get ideas out of your head and organize them at the same time makes this method nearly impossible. You need space to empty your brain, and then separate space to organize ideas in a way that works for you.

Having a place like the Inbox to put all of your stuff first frees your mind up! It allows you to focus first on getting everything out, and then later you’re able to come back

Why not paper & pen?

I love bullet journaling. I love the creative energy I get when I write in a quality paper journal with a great pen.

The problem is, paper & pen are not nearly flexible enough. Lists become cluttered and messy and need to be rewritten. Plus, it’s hard to use a notebook when driving, in the shower, or at the gym.

So, while I don’t have anything against the analog method — on the contrary, I like it a lot — digital is the way to go for making sure you can capture all of your ideas.

Set up Google Assistant (free)

More info on Google Assistant

Of all the methods I’ve tried, I’ve found that using my Google Assistant with Todoist is the simplest way of getting thoughts out of my head when I’m on the go.

If you don’t have a Google account yet, head here to set one up.

Then, be sure you’ve got the Google Assistant app installed on your phone.

Once your assistant is set up, it’s time to link it to Todoist

Link Todoist and Assistant with IFTTT (free)

Sign up for IFTTT here

IFTTT, or If This, Then That, is a super simple platform that does… well… what it says! If x condition happens, do y.

For example, you could set up an IFTTT applet to turn on your lights automatically when you get home. Or, you could have it make an entry in a spreadsheet every time the temperature outside hits a certain temperature.

Or, best of all, you can set it to add tasks to your Todoist inbox!

To do that, head over to IFTTT and sign up for an account.

Setting up the IFTTT recipe

Once you’ve got all of your accounts ready to go (Todoist, Google / Assistant, IFTTT), you’re ready to start the magic.

  1. Log into your IFTTT account
  2. Click My Applets
  3. Click New Applet
  4. Choose the +this button
  5. Search for and click Google Assistant
  6. Connect your account (follow on-screen prompts)
  7. Choose Say a phrase with a text ingredient
  8. Fill it out like this:

    1. With this setup, I can say something like, “Add buy milk to my inbox” or “Add finish grading papers to Todoist”
    2. The $ in the phrase stands in for the task!
    3. You can set this up to be any phrase you’d like!
  9. Click Create trigger
  10. Choose +that
  11. Search for and click Todoist
  12. Connect your account (follow on-screen prompts)
  13. At this point, I recommend leaving the default options! Feel free to tweak if you’d like, though
  14. Click Create action
  15. Click Finish

Now, test it! Launch your Google Assistant and use one of the phrases you just connected. A new task should pop up in your Todoist inbox instantly!

Do Assistant and Todoist integrate natively?

In other words, is IFTTT even necessary?

Technically, you don’t need IFTTT. Google Assistant and Todoist do interface with each other. But, there are a few extra steps you have to take every time you create a new task without IFTTT In the middle.

In my mind, the more barriers you can remove when capturing ideas, the better. IFTTT cuts out a few steps, so it’s well worth the initial time investment to set up.

How to use this in various scenarios

Once you have Todoist linked to Assistant with IFTTT, it opens up a ton of possibilities for capturing ideas and tasks!

When driving

  • Launch Google Assistant on your phone with your voice
  • See if your car supports Android Auto (mine does). I can add tasks right through my car!
  • Add tasks using your voice and a smart watch

When showering

  • Launch Google Assistant on your phone with your voice
  • Grab a Google Home Mini and put it in the bathroom! This is the way I do it

Exercising / Walking

  • Launch Google Assistant on your phone with your voice
  • Add tasks using your voice and a smart watch
  • Get some Google Assistant-enabled headphones

How does this grow my business?

The fewer ideas and tasks you try to keep in your head, the better! This technique will help you free up space in your mind and keep track of everything you need / want to do.