Taking notes in the car

Ok, you’re in the car and you’ve had a fantastic thought on something, and you need to record it. What do you do? Well, if you’re like most people, you try really hard to remember it until you get to wherever you’re going. In the end, you probably forget all about it, at least I do. There’s a better way! Here are several ways to record a thought in the car without endangering anyone:

  • Use a digital voice recorder. These little gadgets range from pretty cheap (even built-in to phones and other things) to fairly expensive. Some can be used with voice recognition software to automate transcription – it works pretty well for some folks. You can just pick it up and start recording. There are still micro cassettes out there, but the sound quality isn’t as good, and they have to be rewound. Still, some people prefer them, and they inexpensive.
  • Call your answering machine. Since it’s purely a one-way conversation that only you will be listening to, don’t worry about sounding intelligent, what’s important is recording the thought.
  • Get a note pad holder for your car. They’re pretty common at discount and auto parts stores. I haven’t found a really good one that’s very sturdy yet. If someone does, please let me know. They have a way of making a car look like you live in it, which some people object to.
  • The “toddler-crayon method” – since it’s not a good idea to take your eyes off the road, take out a large pad of paper like a legal pad. Then scrawl your idea without looking. You’ll be amazed at how understandable the note will be, and in any case the point is just to remember it.
  • Get some removable floppy disk labels (or even shipping labels come in an easy-to-remove version now) and just stick a few where you may need to jot down a number or email address. When they’re full, peel, copy and toss. This can also be handy for the inside of whatever book you’re reading, the top of a notebook computer, etc.

So there you have it – our cars are where we do a lot of thinking, and there will always be valuable thoughts to record. Don’t let them get away – record them and be safe!

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