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Phil Cooke Podcast

May 26, 2020

Ever think of a brilliant idea in the middle of the night – and forget it by morning? In a day when content is king, here’s Phil Cooke’s favorite apps and tools to help him capture ideas for better organization and increased productivity. 


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Resources mentioned in this video:



Unique: The Ultimate Planner for Creative Professionals

Field Notes

Field Notes Leather Cover

Fisher Space Pen

The Pilots Pen



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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help you get from where you are to where you want to be in your career.

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**More about this episode: ** How to Capture Your Creative Ideas

Today, we live in a creative economy, and the best ideas are king. But the problem is, as any veteran creative professional will tell you, ideas are fragile. They often come and go without warning, and if we don’t have a good system for capturing those ideas, then we’ll never benefit from having them in the first place.


After years of different methods, here’s the system I use now. Keep in mind that you don’t have to copy the way I do it – or the way anyone else does it. The important thing is to develop a system that works for you.

Apps: I use a mobile phone app called “Captio” for IOS that is pre-programmed with my email address. All I have to do is write the idea down like a text, hit “Send” and it automatically is sent to my inbox.


For a little more organization, I use “Things” as my task list. It’s really a dumping ground for ideas, but it allows me to put them in categories, and convert them to action steps. It’s a fantastic app that syncs via all my devices, and it also provides an email address so I can easily turn an email into a task.


Print: I designed my planner called “Unique: The Ultimate Planner for Creative Professionals” after working with more than 30 similar journals and planners. It features minimal templates so you’re not having to create lists or daily calendars, but it’s plenty open so you’re not spending all day answering stupid questions and filling out useless information.


For total portability, I also carry a small “Field Notes” notebook in a leather case the size of a wallet. I have this on me pretty much all the time – especially when I’m not carrying anything else. I found the leather cover on Amazon, and it comes with a loop for a Fisher Space Pen (which I love for writing in bed or lying by the pool). This particular leather case is a bit thick, so I’m still looking. Let me know if you’ve discovered the ideal thin leather notebook cover this size.


By my bedside, I keep a stack of notepads, as well as “The Pilots Pen.” The pen features a tiny light on the tip of the pen so I can write in the dark when ideas hit in the middle of the night. With this amazing pen, I can write for hours and never wake up Kathleen, or keep from turning on the overhead light on late night flights.


When it comes to organization, that’s another blog post, so stay tuned. The important thing to remember today is that getting things done starts with getting things down.