The value of writing it down

BlackBerry with notesPeople who have been in meetings with me will tell you that the first thing I do after I sit down at the table is to pull out my BlackBerry or open my notebook computer and start to take notes.

I use the MS Outlook notes function to take notes in meetings, telephone calls and to jot down random thoughts whenever they hit me. This forces me to review what I heard and thought when I “clean” up the notes by deleting or saving them.

Very often, I find myself stopping on a point that may have been quickly glossed over in a meeting or conversation. Sometime, the participants in a meeting do not give the points the time or attention they deserve as different individuals with greater rank, ego or just need push the discussion to suit their own purposes. Other times, a clear connection with something else I’ve been thinking about or working on will jump out at me during my review. Or I’ll simply find that quiet contemplation of the notes allows me to find meaning and significance that I had previously missed.

Management guru David Maister also adopts a similar approach.

How do you ensure that you remember and think about what is important in each day? Do you have other exercises and habits that work for you?