Remember them? It seems like forever when I had nothing to do and life was in total control. Then life happens…you graduate, get married and get the big job. Then have 2.3 children and the race for your time, attention and sanity becomes the new normal. How I wish I could time travel back to my youth.
A note has this superpower of time travel. It represents a part of your work, thoughts and the purpose of your life. A journal entry captures time and helps you journey back when you want to. It creates history and context for the time you lived.
I started my note taking journal in my forties and wish I had the discipline and foresight to have started earlier. With only my memories and captured pictures, they are an incomplete story. Start today with your commitment to journal and write notes so that you have a full account of all of your days. When you have the time you can open your notes, travel back in time and relive the moments.
The brain’s abilities to reason, comprehend and remember may start to worsen as early as age 45, a new study from England suggests.
“Psychologists researching the normal changes of aging have found that although some aspects of memory and processing change as people get older, simple behavior changes can help people stay sharp for as long as possible.” http://www.apa.org/research/action/memory-changes.aspx
If the research is accurate, we need tools to help ourselves age without the terrible loss of memory. Using Microsoft OneNote can act as a supplement and “external brain” to help you remember important information exactly when and where you need it.
Each person has something unique to offer this world only they can give. Few people really believe this or will even try to share their unique gifts and talents. How sad!
The best money spent is the money spent to cultivate the genius of your own mind and spirit. – Jim Rohn
Taking notes, reviewing your ideas and thoughts are ways you can cultivate your genius. By investing in a good notebook and pen or Microsoft OneNote, you can start adding value to yourself and others simply by recording your thoughts, ideas and challenges.
Notes provide you with an external feedback loop – in essence, a help to your brain.
Notes can help you solve your own problems and challenges.
Sometimes we are so busy we neglect writing notes down in one place (like in Microsoft OneNote or your Bullet Journal).
The practice of using one tool to capture everything is a hard habit to start. Most good habits are.
Tomorrow, consider keeping everything in one place and see if your life is more organized and less stressful. You will find all your ideas, thoughts and tasks are not lost to sticky notes, email inbox, scrap paper and napkins.
Write yourself a note and you have it for the future. Write a smarter note and you will give your “future” self an advantage, saving time and reducing frustration.
What are the elements of a smart note?
It needs specificity – action words and enough details that your future brain will understand what you were thinking. Dumb notes are written quickly and lack definition, making them useless.
It needs an index to allow you to find information quickly and efficiently. The Bullet Journal system is an excellent way to index written notes. Evernote has built in search to find information quickly.
It needs to be processed. Follow the 4D Rule: Do it now (if it can be done quickly), Decide when (put it on your to-do list for some future date), Delegate it (send to someone else to deal with), or Delete it.
It needs to be reviewed. The meaning of review is to “see again” and solves a problem for the human brain. Your brain is not good at retaining large amounts of information. A review helps you see again what is important in your life and work.
The review makes a smarter you. When we take the time to review our notes (our lists, tasks and organized information) we aid our “future selves.” Simply put, notes allow our brain to work less and be smarter in the future moment it is needed.
A review sounds like a big process, taking lots of time but that isn’t true. A review can take two minutes and can add clarity, direction and focus you didn’t have before the review.
So take two minutes to review throughout the day and get the benefits of being smarter.
“If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room.” – Richard Branson
Sadly for the great majority of people this is the reality. So much is lost in the busyness of work and play that we miss really important details.
We are told “the devil is in the details” but I never understood that idiom. The origin of that phrase actually began with “God is in the details” and meant things appear quite simple at first but a closer examination will reveal the greatness hidden from view.
Whatever you’re working on deserves the investment of note taking so that your creative, problem solving brain can bring value to the world. This starts with the simple idea…capture it. Don’t miss it!
Of all the important subjects to write about, I chose the subject of notes because it is a foundational skill impacting everything you do.
My name is Michael Potter and I’m a technology professional, musician and avid reader who has a full and often overwhelming life to manage. These activities are by choice and not circumstance as I find my interest in doing new or different things nearly limitless.
What years of experience has taught me is that my brain wasn’t designed to manage the many details, complexities and memories associated with the work I wanted to do. What’s worse, I am a creative type who prefers to remember and recall thousands of details of playing and performing music. Math formulas? Prime numbers? History dates? No. Not important enough to store that in my brain.
In the past few years I have rediscovered the value and necessity of writing, organizing and recalling notes to improve the quality of my work and leisure activities. This blog and podcast will “note” my journey along with experts who have helped me along the way.
Write down the times and dates you feel low (tired, cranky, sluggish) because you will be at your worst performing level.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is put resting at the top of your To Do List. If you know your low performance periods then you can avoid the frustration of trying to accomplish something without the energy to do it.
A really important part of the GTD methodology is the idea of horizons of focus which include personal and professional goals.
I’ve not seen an app directly integrate goals into the workflow except for Doit.im and FacileThings. For years I have been using task/project manager solutions without goals directly tied to the work I have been doing.
Without such a focus, you’ll work on things that really don’t matter to you and that’s a waste of your time, focus and life.