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Paper notes to my electronic list, process help and advice

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  • Paper notes to my electronic list, process help and advice

    OK, basic questions but I'm losing some productivity do to how I handle paper notes and then input them into my electonic system (Outlook). I take allot of notes (in sales). The way I do it is either by a journal or legal paper. When I transfer my actions to my electronic system, what should I do with the paper? I know that David's book says to file it via the project or CYA. My problem is that I keep the papers with me and I get into a bad habit of referring to the paper notes rather than the actionable list in my electronic system. My question is this. Once I enter my notes into my electonic system, should I just file it away for future reference and then use my electonic system for my follow ups rather than relying on paper. I really need be strict with this. I want and need to set up strict rules or I get tangled in my own confustion.

    By carrying the paper, I also carry too much with me when I travel. I used a journal extensively for years because everything is in one place. However, I had problems converting these notes in my journal to my electronic system. Recently, I tried legal paper, which I like. It forces me to reveiw and put in my lists. However, I keep search for "where are my notes on...". From David's book, it looks like I can input the actions from my paper notes and either file or toss the paper. It sounds like the key is to GET THE INFORMATION INTO ME LIST SYSTEM.

    Is this correct, someone set me straight on what is the proper way to do this.

    Thanks much!!

  • #2
    Lose the paper

    My opinion only - people get prety zealous about this.

    Lose the paper once it's been input. You can't spread your data acros multipl containers without creating gaps (chasms?) for stuff to fall though. That's why the issue of synchronization between desktop and Palm (or PPC) comes up so frequently. You have to keep it all in sync.

    I use the NoteTaker wallet that DA designed and I scribble stuff all day long while in meetings or out and about. As soon as I get back to my office, I tear off all my notes and put them in my Inbox for procesing. If a note is time-based, I'll enter it immediately. If the 2-minute rule applies, I'll enter it. Otherwise, it gets input along with all of my other new stuff at my next scheduled collection/organization appointment with myself.

    I use a Palm OS device but, like a lot of people, I've come to use it more as a way of carrying my data with me that as an input device. It's just a lot easier to scribble some notes and input them later (for me). Of course, there are times when a next action pops into my head and I input it directly to the PDA. But I don't sit in meetings trying to take real-time notes on the PDA anymore.

    Sounds like you might be a candidate for a Tablet PC. I'm starting to get pretty excited about this form factor and am currently planning to get one on my next hardware upgrade cycle. A couple of my key applications (OneNote and MindManager) are ink-enabled and more applications are going that direction every day. Then you get the advantages of a legal pad and you're not doing double entry.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a similar issue - I do a lot of sales calls and product support calls on the phone and prefer writing on paper. Same in meetings etc. I am looking at recording actions in my electronic list and now scanning the paper as supporting material. I can then keep the scanned images archived and with me when I travel for reference, but dump the actual physical paper. If the action is recorded well enough, there shouldn't be any need to refer to the reference material, but its there if I ever need it.

      Paul

      Comment


      • #4
        Paul,

        I'm the guy who made the original post. What you said is why I originally went to a journal rather than legal paper. I can keep everything in one place, even if I record it on an electronic list.

        Doug

        Comment


        • #5
          The copy machines at my office have a Scan to Email function which allows scanning to a TIF, Multi-Page TIF, or PDF file. I've found that the Multi-Page TIF files work best: they're smaller and load faster.

          After scanning them in, I save the file to a common folder and give it a name that looks like: 03-24-2004 Project X meeting with Joe Bloggs and Steve Smith.

          Instead of trashing the paper, I still save it for a short while in the project folder but I stick a little 3-ring reinforcement sticker in the top left corner so I know it's been scanned. If the project folder gets to big, I just trash the oldest paper that's been scanned.

          I should also note that I draw a little box by each action item as I go through the day.

          So here's my end of day processing of loose paper:
          1) Go through each page looking for little boxes. If the action has been completed, I mark the box with an X. If not, I add it to my Next Action list and mark the box with an A. (or just do it if it's less than 2 minutes)
          2) Throw away pages I don't need to reference again (generally lists of actions that have been processed)
          3) Scan the pages I do need to reference again using the above procedure.

          At the end of the day, all actions have been processed, reference materials have been filed, and my note pad (and desk) are clear.

          Wow! Just typing it out makes me realize how organized I am.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Paper notes to my electronic list, process help and advi

            [quote="Guest"]

            Dear Guest:

            You sound very anxious about what is the proper thing to do, but it seems that you already have pretty good habits - paper-based and you actually look at what you need to look at. It might not be as elegant as the people who have made this all of this stuff electronic, but how do you know there aren't a lot of people out there who have gone electronic, have their eyes glaze over at the impersonal nature of the lists, and and long for their old bits of paper? The late, lauded, and lamented Mark MacCormack would point out that whatever your system is, it's your system and nobody else needs to understand it (or approve of it).

            If you feel more comfortable hanging on to your written notes, why waste time typing them up only to not look at the typed versions?

            As for me, I'm a scribbler and doodler. I have my little private notepad in which I can write anything I want during the day. I would be embarrassed if anyone else looked at it, but it's none of their business. It's not subject to audit and I'm not responsible to anyone but myself. The discipline (ritual) is in treating the notebook as an Inbox, Processing it at the end of each day, and throwing away the used pages. For greater elegance, I use a notebook with perforated pages and use a fresh right-hand page for meeting notes so that I can tear it out and file it. I use a Palm PDA, and enjoy using it when its use is effective, but being wholly electronic is not my preoccupation.

            Andrew

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Paper notes to my electronic list, process help and advi

              Originally posted by Guest
              My question is this. Once I enter my notes into my electonic system, should I just file it away for future reference and then use my electonic system for my follow ups rather than relying on paper. I really need be strict with this. I want and need to set up strict rules or I get tangled in my own confustion.
              Doug,

              it sounds like you are a "pen and paper person" (me too, btw).

              Why don't you simply print out the parts /lists of your electronic system that you will need on your next sales travel , hole punch the printouts and put them into a slim binder that you can take along with you? The original notes could be trashed after they have been typed into the electronic system. You would have to update your binder every time when you're back from your travel, though.

              Rainer

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lose the paper

                Originally posted by mochant
                My opinion only - people get prety zealous about this.

                Lose the paper once it's been input. You can't spread your data acros multipl containers without creating gaps (chasms?) for stuff to fall though. That's why the issue of synchronization between desktop and Palm (or PPC) comes up so frequently. You have to keep it all in sync.

                I use the NoteTaker wallet that DA designed and I scribble stuff all day long while in meetings or out and about. As soon as I get back to my office, I tear off all my notes and put them in my Inbox for procesing. If a note is time-based, I'll enter it immediately. If the 2-minute rule applies, I'll enter it. Otherwise, it gets input along with all of my other new stuff at my next scheduled collection/organization appointment with myself.

                Likewise similarly excited about the tablet pc - looks great for the note taking aspect. I've worked with a pda & keyboard but it's all too tiny - the thought of having an a4 size doodle pad for input excites me - as does the mind mapping software - until then I"m working on a similar system with notes and paper - into the tray if they are over 2 minutes - work from only one book at a time, etc. Experimenting with Business Contact Manager add on to outlook for client opportunities and histories - looks nice when it doesn't 'crash' - will report in the other forum (software etc) once I've got it working.

                cheers Helen

                I use a Palm OS device but, like a lot of people, I've come to use it more as a way of carrying my data with me that as an input device. It's just a lot easier to scribble some notes and input them later (for me). Of course, there are times when a next action pops into my head and I input it directly to the PDA. But I don't sit in meetings trying to take real-time notes on the PDA anymore.

                Sounds like you might be a candidate for a Tablet PC. I'm starting to get pretty excited about this form factor and am currently planning to get one on my next hardware upgrade cycle. A couple of my key applications (OneNote and MindManager) are ink-enabled and more applications are going that direction every day. Then you get the advantages of a legal pad and you're not doing double entry.

                Comment


                • #9
                  BCM for OUtlook looks promising

                  helenjc - I look forward to your thoughts about the Business Contact Manager add-in. I'm not in sales and so the obvious sales focus of that tool has put me off trying it. It does look like a powerful way to capture a lot of transactional information though. The demo at the Office 2003 launch event I attended looked very intriguing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Paper notes to my electronic list, process help and advi

                    Originally posted by Guest
                    I take allot of notes (in sales). The way I do it is either by a journal or legal paper. When I transfer my actions to my electronic system, what should I do with the paper?
                    I take notes when I am in meetings, or in smaller discussions, or just jot things down to myself. Then I put actionable items into my PDA.

                    IF the notes contain "what other people said", then I file the paper just in case I need to refer back to it. (I keep one folder for each project labelled PROJECT NAME - RAW NOTES). If the paper only contained actionable items which have all been processed, then I toss it.

                    Claudia

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While in a meeting, I put a star next to the next actions and exclaimation point next to any issue that needs to be adressed immediately. I then process any non-immediate items during my next in-box session. I almost always do meeting notes before email.

                      I then put simply put my notes eithre in the project file or in a binder in which I keep meeting and phone notes chronologically (which ever makes sense) in case I need to refer to them later - and I usually don't.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Notes / Paper

                        Doug

                        I am in sales too and deal with the same dilemma. We have a lousy CRM at present, but soon we go to Siebel and I will have to do far more input. So my system may change.

                        I keep every note in one place - a "Black n' Red" Ruled A5. I date every page and if I feel I've written something I'm likely to refer back to at some point, then I will index it in Outlook under project notes or whatever. I do spend a little time paging through this book looking for stuff, but it has saved my butt more than once to have it all in one place.

                        What do you use for projects and NA's?

                        Mark in Texas

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mark,

                          I have gone back to the same method that you do. A hard bound journal. It is what I have done for many years. No files to keep and sheets and sheet of legal paper. One book with everything. Then, I take those notes and input them in my ACT contact database. Works for me. I use the group feature in ACT to keep track of the David Allen principles.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Notes / Paper

                            Originally posted by DM
                            snip...
                            I keep every note in one place - a "Black n' Red" Ruled A5. I date every page and if I feel I've written something I'm likely to refer back to at some point, then I will index it in Outlook under project notes or whatever. I do spend a little time paging through this book looking for stuff, but it has saved my butt more than once to have it all in one place.

                            Mark in Texas
                            Mark:

                            In my analog notebook, I've adopted Post-it flags to make finding entrie a bit easier. I use the same colors in OneNote (my elctronic version of the notebook - only necessary info is copied from the paper book). On any given page, I may have two or three flags and I've standardized on the flags with a pointy end to make it easier to remember what I thought was the central point of an entry.

                            I also use the flags in my reading material, sticking to the same color scheme.

                            HTH, Marc

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