I'm looking for a good way to take notes at work.
December 5, 2007 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good way to take notes at work.

I've been reading lots of good notetaking posts here, but they are mainly aimed at students. My situation is a little different because I'm not keeping track of lectures and readings, but meetings and projects.

Maybe someone has suggestions for me....

Here are some criteria:

1) Paper only cause I travel a lot.

2) I sit in a lot of meetings.

3) I would like to be able to flip back through the book and find things (eg, names, projects, etc.)

I try to use the Cornell method but it doesnt seem to work for me. Maybe I'm too sloppy.
posted by BigBrownBear to Work & Money (7 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
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Mind Performance Hacks

Even if you don't go whole-hog with it, learning just the 27 single letter characters can really save time.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

The one thing I find very useful is to draw a box in the margin beside anything that needs an action, then check the box when the action's done.

I can't help with a way to locate names fast - I write all names with contact info into the back page of my notebook (unindexed, spiral-bound, fwiw). I guess if the notebook had numbered pages then you could come up with an index for names and projects.
posted by anadem at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2007

What I do:
- note the purpose of the meeting
- note the time
- note all people present

- if anything interesting is said, record it with the speaker's name. I'm happy summarising or paraphrasing for brevity. If verbatim is important, I put quotes around the passing so I know that I got the exact words.
- if I commit to doing something, I note it with a star next to it
- if someone commits to doing something for me, I note it with a star next to it
- if a date or deadline is agreed, I note it with a star
- at the end of the meeting, I transfer starred items into my calendar, to-do and follow-up lists.

- when extremely bored, draw portraits of the participants and the view if any.

As part of that technique, be prepared to pipe up and clarify.

"So, A is going to have information X for us at our next meeting?"
"So, B, C and D will meet me in this room at 12 PM next Tuesday?"

The upshot is that I have a paper record of who I met, where I met them, what we agreed, and maybe even a bunch of nice sketches.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:56 PM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've found this tip about making a map of who is at a meeting and where they were sitting to be extremely helpful -- especially when there are people I have not met before.
posted by jknecht at 5:48 PM on December 5, 2007

Tim Ferris has some tips for you.
posted by divabat at 6:04 PM on December 5, 2007

Tablet PC. You can scribble all you want, and it is easy to translate it into text files (with pictures, if you draw a lot). I couldn't believe how nice it was when I first tried it.
posted by overhauser at 6:32 PM on December 5, 2007

Have you looked into mind-maps?
posted by Arthur Dent at 1:47 AM on December 6, 2007

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