I’m Taking Note on Your and My Note Taking

My Quality related GOALs for the year? I have only one goal that I will publicly admit to:

Improve My Note Taking

Take Note: I’ve noticed that most people do not Take Notes anymore. Not in business discussions about plans and dates and people for this and that and another thing.

They must be taking mental notes. Hmm. What is their cognitive load capacity anyway? Should I be concerned? What’s in it for me? Their note taking that is? And what are the negative consequences to me for their future failure regarding what was just discussed?

I won’t spend a moment pondering the positive consequences for their lack of note taking. So what do I need to now do because “forewarned is forearmed” and I better sometime downstream attempt to minimize or eliminate what has just been uncovered? Perhaps a simple email reminder to this non-note taking person from me to them with all of the details that I’ve captured – making my notes all the more valuable – is required. Something for my task list. Something or two.

And – I’m not talking about taking notes at a conference session or chapter meeting. Although most don’t do that either. They probably know that they aren’t going to need to go back for any of the specifics from the sessions – and their experience informs them of the lack of need to take notes – so they don’t – and they just absorb it in. A few will lean forward from their relaxed state to take a cryptic note or two. But most people don’t.

Look around at the next conference. Which group will get more Return for the Investment for their attendance? The Note Takers – or the Non-Note Takers?

I bet it’s a bit mixed – with mostly the Note Takers getting more bang for the buck – so to speak.

When discussing “who needs to do what when” types of conversations – when things are detailed and tricky and sticky – then the other person’s taking notes along with me – makes me feel better. And that’s what this is all about. Making me feel better.

One person who recently doesn’t take notes…seems to need to come back to me at the last-minute and ask for clarifications – rework for both of us – because they don’t recall now when it’s needed. So I check my notes. And update them. This only partially makes me feel better. Mostly I am then concerned.

Another colleague from my past who didn’t take notes…was off the project the next day after the client asked that they be removed after spending an entire 2 days in meetings without them seeing him take one note about what was going on, what he was agreeing to, etc. That and ordering that expensive wine at dinner the one evening was the tipping point. They didn’t even want to give him a chance to fail. They were pretty sure he would – and why not nip this in the bud, so to speak. So they had me remove him from their projects, and he soon left the firm.

Sometime when I am with clients I ask out loud for a moment to allow me to take note – especially after we just agreed on something important – or tricky – and I feel that they always appreciate my doing that. For it makes them feel better. A win in the short run – with a more likely win in the long run – makes everyone feel better. And isn’t that what it’s all about – Hokey Pokey fans?


I find that I am getting lazy, or distracted, as for some reason I take more cryptic notes nowadays – and not the copious notes of yesterday…so I need to work on more deliberate note taking. Going Copious!

Back in the day…

I used to take audio notes and then dictate voice messages back to myself on the drive to and from the airport. And to and from work. And then turn those into notes on paper – each with a check box – as I created my own “punch list” – to help me get ‘er done.

Reflecting on this for a moment…

I find that note taking is something very valuable when I need to reflect on some idea or effort – before doing some deep dive or putting my nose to the grindstone (and avoiding multi-tasking) to get that job/task/process started and finished ASAP with all the non-distracted focus I can. Sometimes I’ll take 4-5 pages of notes and doodles, graphs and charts, and then set it aside for a short time. And then revisit before the original task I had been preparing for. In between I could reflect on it with or without breaks sandwiched-in for deliberate distraction.

“What drives my note taking craze?” you might ask.

Rework. I dislike rework. I dislike wasting my time. Life is too short. And the day is too short.

I’ve tried to find the shortcuts that help not hinder,


Why do so many employ processes and practices that virtually guarantee REWORK!?!

Or why don’t they employ processes and practices that virtually guarantees avoiding REWORK!?!


I’m taking note that I need to improve my own note taking. That’s a start for me.

And I’m hoping to prod some of you into take note of this – and then acting upon it as well.


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2 comments on “I’m Taking Note on Your and My Note Taking

  1. Evernote on iPad w/Bluetooth keyboard or iPhone. Echo Pens. Digital Voice Recorder. Smartphone camera. Cloud apps and storage. 21st century solutions that get me through the days. And a pocket-size notebook plus pen for when the batteries fail, or when none of the above are convenient (though I think the Echo Pen and a small Anoto notebook or their special Moleskine is going to triumph over this for me).


  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention I’m Taking Note on Your and My Note Taking « EPPIC – Pursuing Performance -- Topsy.com

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