One of the few things productivity experts agree on is that writing things down is a good idea. It doesn’t matter if you write with an ink pen on paper or with some sort of computer-like device, keeping a record of your ideas has benefits. In a work situation, I think we’re all Ok with the idea of taking notes at a meeting. In other situations, it would seem keeping a journal or taking notes is just as beneficial. Even if you never read them, the act of writing something down helps your brain remember.
The Evernote blog recently carried an article on the notebooks (journals) of Thomas Edison, the famous inventor. Cool stuff! The guy made daily entries and kept track of the status of his many and varied projects, all on paper notebooks. And the museum has them and you can read them today long after Mr Edison is gone.
I first came across the idea of a journal when I met my friend the late S Kenneth Stoke. S kept a journal and faithfully recorded every visitor to his house, every medicine he took and what he had for lunch. He also made notes of conversations we had and ideas we tossed around. I was fascinated and inspired. I started with a large bound journal which evolved into a scrap book of my life as a teenager and young adult.
In my working life I met Jack Pindell, a talented computer technician. Jack was my first employee to retire. He had also been my manager at Dick Smith Electronics many years before. But the reason I mention him now is that he kept a record of every computer repair he ever did. Lab notes if you like.
I’ve now got a few different ways of taking notes. Paper journals, electronic systems, applications and a good collection of what Queen Ebay calls “stationery porn”. Pens, markers, pencils, Moleskins and more. My next series of articles will explain each one and how they work so that you can decide what works for you. But bloody start taking notes will you?