8 Brainstorming Tools for Capturing Ideas

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8 Brainstorming Tools for Capturing Ideas

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 4/15/15 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

There are a lot of brainstorming tools you can use for capturing ideas.

Some are better than others and you have to find the ones that are the best fit for you. 

It’s ideal to build up a virtual storehouse that you can come back to later.

Once you start recording your ideas, you’ll probably impress yourself by the range of thoughts you have.

The important thing is that you capture the idea because you will forget it. You’re not that good.

It’s nothing against you and your memory.

But you’ll have amazing ideas at the most inopportune time. Guaranteed.

Let’s take a look at eight of the best brainstorming tools that are available.

Full disclosure:

I’ve used every one of these at some point or another. I don’t have a favorite. What I use depends a lot on my environment, convenience and which app updates quickest for hardware updates.

1. Trello


We’ve talked a bit about the power of Trello boards.

And idea capturing is just another great function of the program. Put all your grand thoughts into an “idea” board. Simple as that.

Once you’re ready to take action, you can manage your progress by moving the Trello cards to new columns as you go.


2. Evernote



Once upon a time, I used Evernote all the time.

All. The. Time.

I’m still a huge advocate of the program. I’d recommend Michael Hyatt’s remarkable article for anyone that wants to use this brilliant platform to organize their thoughts and life.

Here are some of the highlights of Evernote.

  • Different notes that go together can be merged into one.
  • You can set a reminder for any of your notes. This is perfect for those late-night revelations that you’re afraid you’ll forget in the morning.
  • Evernote notebooks can be “stacked” and shared with other users.
  • You can take “audio” notes quickly without having to type anything out.


3. Todoist



Todoist is perfect for jotting down ideas on the fly.

One of the coolest things about this app is that you can assign a priority level to each idea or task.

You can set dates for implementation or completion and add notes at any point.

Todoist allows you to attach actionable steps to your bursts of inspiration.

Check out these examples of the most popular uses for Todoist.

  • Add Google Calendar events as Todoist tasks.
  • Add Todoist task to Google Calendar as events.
  • Create Todoist tasks from Evernote reminders.
  • Add new Trello cards to Todoist as tasks.


4. Feedly


Great articles often spark ideas, strategies or tactics.

If I want to implement it later, I’ll use the tool’s “Save” feature.

Then, when I need some fresh ideas or strategies, I’ll head over to Feedly and dig through all the resources I’ve accumulated.

Here’s a sample of a few titles in my “Saved for Later” section of Feedly:

  • The Ultimate List-Builder’s Resource Guide: 111 Links to Double or Even Triple Your Traffic
  • 62 Little Joys of Everyday Life That We Need to Appreciate More Often
  • The Ultimate Guide to Changing Your Life

Man, now I wanna go read through some of these articles again! I forgot some of those were in there.

See the beauty in this?


5. Slack



I love Slack. My team and I use it every day to communicate.

But it’s also a great brainstorming tool for capturing your best ideas.

Create a private channel for yourself and write notes as you think of them.

Here’s why Slack note taking is ideal.

  • You can peruse a fully-indexed search of your ideas.
  • Your notes are timestamped.
  • You can bring content in with a simple drag and drop.

Works like a charm.


6. Notes for iPhone


I use this one the most right now.

Living on the go makes the native iPhone application easy-to-use.

And I can sync it up as a Google note, which makes it even better.

You can do more with Notes than many people think.

Here are some of the most useful aspects.

You can:

  • Change the formatting for emphasis and generally edit any of your notes.
  • Attach videos and pictures to notes.
  • Attach other types of files.
  • Draw on your notes.
  • Make a checklist.
  • Organize your ideas into folders.
  • Sync everything with iCloud.
  • Share and collaborate with others.

Quick, easy and convenient. That’s what I need in my life.


7. SimpleMind


Once your ideas start flowing, it’s helpful to be able to see how they interconnect.

This is especially nice if you’re a visual learner and need to actually look at the relationships between your latest innovations.


8. Moleskine Notebook


You can find tons of options with these handy little notebooks.

Plus, there are some big advantages to recording your ideas on actual paper.

Check out why Moleskine is a great option.

  • You can use a full two-page spread for brainstorming, drawing, writing and laying out all your thoughts.
  • It’s the perfect size for note taking and the paper is thick enough that your favorite pen won’t bleed through. Another plus is that it’s an inconspicuous way to take notes during a meeting.

I enjoyed using the Cahier journals for capturing ideas.

The soft cover and small size worked well for carrying with me anywhere I went.

Final Thoughts On Brainstorming Tools For Capturing Ideas

Try these eight tools and see which ones work for your lifestyle and which don’t.

Keep in mind that you probably won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution out there.

As with most things in business and marketing, you’ve gotta test it out for yourself.

The most important thing is that you have a tried and true method that works for you to capture all your ideas.

Which tools have you used in the past? Do you have any that you could add to the list? 

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Josh Coffy

Josh is an entrepreneur at heart, dropping out of college to pursue his dream of owning his own business. Fast-forward five years later, and Josh’s unique ability to marry technology with creative marketing strategies has led to Flight Media’s steady and swift growth. Now one of the leading Inbound Marketing companies in Ohio, the U.S. and abroad, clients trust Flight Media’s expertise, agile approach, and transparency. You can find Josh at CrossFit, backpacking the West coast with his wife, Kelsey, or reading a personal development book from his ever-growing library.