Taking Notes

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I agree with Richard Branson on Why everyone should take notes. We are moving through a lot of information and trying to make sense of it to be able to take the right actions.
I have a process I have used for years that moves information to action. That is the goal of notes for me. Here is a note-taking strategy to implement daily:

  1. Use a junior legal pad. I buy stacks of these 5″x7″ pads. They don’t get in the way, are easy to jot thoughts on and are big enough to diagram, scribble, brainstorm and work through thoughts. I have experimented with many notebooks and sizes over the years and this works extremely well.
  2. Write notes. Listen carefully. If in-person or in a Google Hangout, I seek to make eye contact, record notes and ensure I understand what other people are saying. I use a symbol, “@,” next to any items that require actions.
  3. Send email. I consider email my archive. When I need to find something, I simply search my email and keep a ZeroInbox. I send an email right after a meeting or call summarizing the conversation and listing in a numbered or bullet list the actions to take next.
  4. Throw away paper. The junior legal pad tears off pages easily. My notes are organized for action in the email I sent and it is part of my searchable archive now, as well as for all recipients. My email is my note system. So, I throw away my written notes and keep a clean pad of paper ready for my next meetings.

This process digitizes everything and makes it easily referenced or searchable in your Gmail.

Furthermore, it provides the opportunity for the other parties involved in your conversations to clarify anything that may not have been captured or heard correctly.

I like producing actions out of strategies. Note-taking is part of building strategy and facilitating actions with others.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to develop this habit or strategy further for you or your team. Thanks.