Everyday there is enough information flowing through your brain and your business to sink a small ship. Staying on top of things requires you making sense of it all and staying organized. Don’t drown. Keep yourself afloat by writing things down.
I was the post-it note queen for years, but over the past year I’ve transitioned to taking notes digitally. Fortunately there are a host of applications to streamline that process. Some of those include Microsoft OneNote, To Do, Day One, Evernote, Notes + and Notability. Digital note taking takes time to get used to but will save you tremendous time in the long run.
Set up systems that work for YOU, to help you keep track. Think about the information you need and how you want to use it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can use a single notebook, a series of notebooks, some sort of filing system, or if you prefer digital options, productivity apps. (Read more about digital workflows and productivity application options here)
Organize your day the night before by writing things out so you can work with purpose straight out the gate. Include details, stray thoughts, ideas to mention, names, numbers and anything else you might want to have at your fingertips during the day. Don’t waste time searching for what you need later. Add notes throughout the day, updating for easy reference.
Flag your deliverables and mark your priorities for easy view during meetings. A million things will try and interfere with your memory, getting it down in the moment eliminates that risk. It’s also a good idea to follow up on calls and video conferences with a digital message outlining deliverables agreed upon, deadlines and next steps to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Get the most from your notes. Listening engages one part of the brain while reading and writing engage other parts. The more of your brain you use, the more likely you are to remember. As you review your notes later, you’ll see patterns and connections between things. This can give you new insights and ideas about how to improve, grow and stay on track as a remote professional.
Be detailed. As you take notes, note the date, subject and persons associated with what you’re writing about. Full sentences ate necessary and it does not need to be perfect. Just get enough down to jog your memory later. You may even find yourself developing your own hacks for simplifying the note taking process.
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