ICS – Idea Capture Spreadsheet

| February 4, 2014 | 14 Comments

As promised, I’m uploading my Idea Capture Spreadsheet. As the spreadsheet title indicates, I use it to capture my ideas so I won’t forget them. On my personal copy of the spreadsheet, I’ve listed all of my websites and ebook titles. I’ve also inserted hyperlinks to the specific websites and documents. It makes it easier for me to find what I want when I want it.

Capturing Thoughts and IdeasI’m sharing this file but there are a few caveats. First of all, it isn’t pretty nor is it complete. I needed something simple to organize and capture my ideas and thus it was created. Just like the income tracking spreadsheet, the ICS may or may not work well for you. Feel free to change, fix or modify it to suit your needs.

More caveats/notes:

  1. I like efficiency, so I try to insert hyperlinks to the various websites and files I’m working with. If you’re not real comfortable using Excel, you should spend a little time learning how to insert hypertext links. Doing so will save you time.
  2. I did not color code anything because I retired my color printer. I use a black and white laser jet so I use patterns and shades of gray to graphically accent my deadlines.
  3. This chart contains 11 months only. I created it at the end of January and saw no reason to include the first month of the year. Besides, the first month of this year was dedicated to behind-the-scenes work and I didn’t get to do much writing.
  4. The ICS is a tool that should make it easier for you to capture ideas. If it doesn’t, delete it and create something that works well for you. If you come up with something better that will help the NJFM community, please feel free to share.

On my copy of the spreadsheet I list specific and detailed goals of what I want to accomplish. I also insert the dates for when I’d like to achieve them. No blue print is complete without inspirational quotes and sayings. I sprinkle them here and there as I come across ones that resonate with me.  They help me along the way when I run into rough spots or unexpected obstacles.

The Idea Capture Spreadsheet is meant to be flexible. Each month review, evaluate and tweak it as necessary. I hope the ICS spurs you on to create a workable schedule to help you accomplish your goals this year.

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Category: Freelance, Tools, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she’s not writing or commenting on NJFM, she’s either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (14)

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  1. Sher says:

    Thanks for sharing the spreadsheet. I still use the income spreadsheet tracker and will add your idea capture spreadsheet to my work-at-home tools. When you work from home, on multiple income streams, methods to track your work become a must!

    The inspirational quotes are great, too!

  2. Ken says:

    Felicia,

    I did get your email…did you get mine? LOL I responded.

    Thanks for stopping by the new site.

    Ken

  3. Ignatius says:

    Thanks for the spreadsheet! I like the way you have things organized. I have been using Evernote to store up ideas, but I need to move them into an action plan. For anyone who doesn’t have Excel, it seems to open just fine in OpenOffice Calc, which is is included in the free Open Office software. Folks can see openoffice.org for information if they don’t have the program.

    I’ll be interested to hear how your new website hosting works out. I need to make a move away from HostGator, too, but it always seems easier to just renew it for one more month.

    • Felicia says:

      I tried Evernote, but just couldn’t warm up to it. I guess my brain thinks in rows and columns. You’re right about Open Office. It works fine there too. It also works in KingSoft software for Androids. The only problem I’ve had with using it on my tablet is navigating between pages is a little slow. To speed things up I inserted a link to the Home page on each sheet and now it works like a charm.

      I have the annual hosting plan with HostGator, which is due to expire in March. I intend to have everything transferred by then. I’m leaning towards Site5. I’ve read some good things about them. I’ll keep you posted.

  4. Interesting post as always,Felicia. I too have a couple of docs, started a couple of years ago, that I use to keep track of writing ideas, inspirational quotes, or witticisms. One is in Excel, the other is a Word doc. Keep the ideas and information coming, please.

  5. Crystal says:

    Thanks for the spreadsheet – love the inspiration sprinkled throughout, especially your documentation insight on the maintenance page. I’ve got it tacked to my desktop so should be able to find it. Now if we just don’t lose power…

    On a related note, I recently listened to a podcast by a gal (can’t remember her name) that advised collecting in one place all the ideas you’ve written down or have rattling around in your head, analyzing which will move you most effectively toward your goals, picking three and then throwing the rest away – and the whole process is supposed to take very little time. Don’t think I’m to the point where I can do it but she did make a good case for getting everything out of your head and then focusing on implementing a manageable number of ideas.

    • Felicia says:

      I’ve heard similar advice about writing down goals and working on the one that will most improve your life. That’s partially why I created the spreadsheet. I had too many things rolling around in my head. Having my writing ideas all in one spot gives me clarity to write.

      I also have one that I use for non writing ideas and projects. Having the spreadsheet allows me to place things in their proper pecking order. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be able to look at both spreadsheets and feel pleased with what I’ve accomplished.

      • Crystal says:

        Do you really have 16 websites as shown on the spreadsheet? Yikes! And I can’t even keep up with my handful.

        On a related note (I seem to be saying that a lot lately!), I signed up for ManageWP and am happy with it so far – I just log in and my WordPress blogs/sites are easily accessible in one spot. I can use the free account by limiting the number I manage there to five, which might not be helpful for you at all – but maybe you could test it out with just the five you use most often?

        • Felicia says:

          Sixteen websites sounds overwhelming, but it’s not really as bad as it seems. Five or six of them only get updated seasonally. Seven of them fall under the Tidbitsandstuff umbrella. I recently consolidated several sites into Tidbits and then decided it was easier to manage if I created blogs that all tie into Tidbits.

          I had to do quite a bit of soul searching to figure out which ones I would contribute to regularly and which ones to move to the bottom of the pile. I only contribute to 4 of them regularly. The rest not so often so it makes it manageable.

          I put the link you sent me on my “maintenance” page and intend to check it out, but first, after yesterday’s frustration, I’ve got to find a new web host before I play around with ManageWP. HostGator has been letting me down on a regular basis so finding a new hosting company has moved to the top of my maintenance list (in big red bold letters I might add).

          • Crystal says:

            Have you tried the multisite feature available on WP 3.0 and later that “allows multiple virtual sites to share a single WordPress installation”? I know it’s not for me (I don’t even know what that means exactly) but I’m sure you would understand it.

            Sorry to hear you’ve had HostGator problems. We’ve got all our sites hosted there, as well, but I’m not aware of any issues as yet. Anything in particular we should be looking out for?

          • Felicia says:

            Crystal, I took the liberty of linking your comment to your latest blog post. This way I’ll always have the link for when I need it.

            My problem with HostGator is my sites keep going down. It’s been happening more frequently. Yesterday they really slowed me down because my sites kept going down as I was working on them. It’s hard to write posts when the software cannot connect with the server.

            I think I know where I’m going to move my sites to. I just have a few more things to check out. I’ll write a post about it when I make the change.

          • Ken says:

            So glad you’re posting again. Love this place!

          • Felicia says:

            Well helloooo Ken!

            It’s good hearing from you. Hope you got my email. If not it’s okay, I’m glad you stopped by. I’m heading over to your site now. Good to know you’re alive and kickin’!

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