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Never Miss a Note

Never Miss a Note

There is an art to taking notes.  I take copious notes about everything.  On any given day, I have a to-do list and a to-morrow list and a list about what happened in real time.  If you are a note taker, you have the system that works for you, but I've been asked what works for me and I'd thought I'd share it here.

My job requires me to be on numerous calls daily.  Because my cases are varied, I need an organized way to remember highlights and action items from one case so that when I move on to the next, I don't forget important details.  Since 2011, I've religiously used the Black N' Red Twin Wire Poly Cover Business Notebook in 8 1/2" X 11 to jot down notes in real time.  It goes something like this:

Before a call starts, I date the top right hand corner of the page.  I then write in the left margin who is participating on the call with their title so that I understand the stakeholders.  I then put the specific case name and any general statement about the nature of the call at the top of the page.  After that, I try to write down as many words as I can using bullet points. As an example (disclaimer - the details in the photo below are fictional and do not represent an actual matter I'm working on...duh):

Sometimes I write shorthand (although only I can understand it).  If there are action items to take away from the meeting, I mark "AI" with a circle around the letters in the left hand margin. After the call is over, I review the action items and any pertinent notes.  I then move on to the next call.

Although writing that many words can be tedious, it works for me.  It may not always read as a full transcript of the meeting, but it helps me to have a complete snapshot of what happened. I usually fill up one notebook in 4 months and then move on to the next one.  Not only does this method keep me organized, but it keeps me on top of all of my matters and allows me to easily reference them in the future.

What note-taking tips and tools work for you?  Do you take notes by hand or computer?

Lead Photo Credit: Aaron Burden

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