Productivity Minute: New Notetaking Tips for Small Office or Home Office Pros

stopwatch_time_management_tipsIt’s the “holy grail” of small office and home office professionals: the system. That special trick you rely upon to keep things from falling through the cracks.

Let’s face it, you’re busy. And most things get overlooked when you’re stuck in the minutia of your job. You can only rely so much on your memory.

That’s why having a go-to set of notetaking skills in your repertoire is a key factor in how well you capitalize on today’s important thoughts, meetings and conversations.

Here are some important notetaking tips you can use:

  • Take notes while events are still fresh in your head, don’t wait until the end of the day
  • Have one dedicated notebook or day planner where all your notes are captured
  • Using a highlighter pen is the easiest notetaking shortcut for making important notes stand out
  • Keep notes in chronological order in your journal or daily planner to lend context to your ideas
  • Write memory-jogging notes below appointments in your monthly calendar
  • Use a system of symbols to replace words when writing fast: for example “@” means “follow-up task,” “#” means “date to schedule,” “*” (star) means “important info to remember,” and use an “>” to indicate a new topic
  • When starting a new topic midpage, utilize subheads such as “Budget meeting notes” or “HR Conversation w/Greg” for easy reference
  • page-locator or sticky note allows you to quickly flip open to you’re the notes page of your daily planner or calendar

Having a set routine for keeping yourself organized is really important, because in most cases there’s no one backing you up. You alone control the flow of information… and you can’t always do it alone.