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Note Taking

I finished up another notebook this week. I am in about 9-12 meetings a week and find that with the many varying tasks and projects that come my way, notebooks are a great way to stay sane. They, along with a unique pen that is easy to keep up with, are a great way to keep up with meetings and keep great notes.

Because I am a little OCD I use the same black notebooks – having bought several of them at one time a year or so ago. I am a little different than a recent post by one of my organization heros Michael Hyatt who gives some great advice in the post, the lost art of note taking, in that I review my notebook after every meeting, transferring items into outlook using the GTD Outlook add-on.

The key for me is that I write down as much about the meeting as I can (filtering out stuff that just does not matter). In order to do this here are some things I practice. Be sure to check out Hyatt’s above post for other great stuff.

1. I write down key words, not entire ideas. This makes my post-meeting review essential. Filtering takes time. I have been attending the same basic meetings with a similar core group for 2-3 years so I have come to a better place with that.

2. I circle action items. If it an action item that I will handle I simply circle it, if I will be delegating it – I circle it and then draw a line outside the circle and write a name.

3. Many of my meetings are in regards to our weekend services at Seacoast Church. Because there are 10 campuses, up to 3 hours away, that need to know this information as soon as possible it is essential to provide accurate summaries of these meetings in digital form. To help with this, we have an online discussion board (we call it the Creative Blog for simplicity though not really a blog per se’) that I put these notes on. This serves as a log, so I don’t need to keep a paper-trail as Hyatt does.

4. When a page has been "blogged" or entered into Outlook, I rip it out. When a notebook is out of paper I throw it away.

Seems like simple stuff and really is, but knowing that all unprocessed notes are in one place is truly a stress relieving and highly productive state to be in.

What are some ways that you stay sane?

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Filed under: Leadership Principles