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Notes to Process

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  • Notes to Process

    I will frequently have non-project notes to process. These are items such as notes from something I've read or a meeting. Where and how do you organize the physical notes? I know I have to put note processing on my NA, but where should I keep the actual paperwork (either electronic or paper) in the meantime. Also, what do you do with the paperwork, if it doesn't belong to a particular project, once it has been processed?

    I am certain there is a simple answer, but I would appreciate any advice.

  • #2
    Hey, sdann! I hope I can help.

    I think you may be have misread the material. Processing isn't an NA. You just process. Processing doesn't imply the creation of a Project or NA for everything in the thing being processed. It implies making a decision about what needs to be done (if anything).

    When I'm in a meeting, I frequently write down notes of all kinds on an index card. That index card will go into my inbox. I'll then process the note, creating NAs or transcribing the minutes onto a sheet for my records or shooting off an email or what-have-you. Once I'm done, the card goes into the trash.

    Does that answer your questions?

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    • #3
      Heres how I do it. This is for paper notes

      I write the notes.

      They go into my inbox. When I process, I am looking through the notes to see if they contain, a next action, waiting for, or a new project. These things are put on my lists. To help myself out, when I write notes, I usually put a W, NA or P in the margin, so I can process faster.

      The notes then go into the appropriate file in the A - Z filing system.

      Hope this helps

      Comment


      • #4
        Another option would be doing something similar to my method.

        I keep all of my meeting notes in a Franklin planner. The planner goes with me everywhere. I use my own notes form called Quad Notes (you can find it at my website) that has defined areas for Notes, Questions, Actions, and a summary.

        Upon returning to my desk I either place my notes in my inbox or review them right at that moment to capture any Actions.

        I then place the notes back into my Franklin planner. All meeting notes are in chronological order. Once a month I have a recurring task in Outlook that reminds me to archive any notes older than three months in my Franklin storage container. These notes remain in the container at my desk in case I need to reference them.

        The reason for keeping notes in this manner is that I have found that people inevitably can't recall what was discussed four weeks ago. I am able to reference the meeting notes and move the conversation along. This happens more often than one would think.

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        • #5
          Not the answers I was looking for. I really wanted to be told that I could put the notes to process in a folder for a later date - a permission to procrastinate, so to speak. But, alas, you are all correct, I need to process them properly and then file them properly. I also need to begin to take notes more clearly.

          Thank you for your advice.
          Last edited by sdann; 04-14-2008, 02:22 PM. Reason: grammar

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          • #6
            Processing Notes

            The best method I've found for note-taking and processing notes is to keep a single notebook for all notes. I prefer either a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. spiral bound notebook with microperfed pages or a similarly sized moleskin. Keeping the notes in the notebook gives a nice chronological record of what happened. It's always good practice to date and timestamp any notes you take.

            I will mark any identified next actions on the page by placing an open checkbox in the margin. When I'm in the office I tend to process as I go. (e.g. as soon as I'm back at my desk I'll enter the next actions into Outlook.) On the road, I'll often enter next actions into my palm from the notebook on the flight. Once the next action is recorded I check off the item in the notebook. (I know this means it's been processed, not completed.)

            If I need to keep notes in a project support file I'll either type them up or photocopy the page and put the copy in the physical file.

            If I'm at a conference, I'll often keep notes in a separate notebook or cahair moleskin. Since I may not have time to process the notes for several days, it likely goes into IN as soon as I get back to the office for processing later. So yes, you can put stuff in IN or even "tickle" your notes for later processing, but I would advise being conscious about when you do that. I wouldn't put a next action on the list for "Process Notes" Most of the time the best practice will be to process the notes as soon after you take them as possible.

            Often, once the next actions are captured from the notes they are of little value so filing them may not be worth the effort...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sdann View Post
              Not the answers I was looking for. I really wanted to be told that I could put the notes to process in a folder for a later date - a permission to procrastinate, so to speak. But, alas, you are all correct, I need to process them properly and then file them properly. I also need to begin to take notes more clearly.

              Thank you for your advice.
              It depends on what you need the notes for. If they have a lot of actionable items, then you need to process them. But if they are purely informational, then file them away.

              To make it easier to process, use symbols to mark actionable items as you take notes.

              If you don't like filing, then do as the good folks here suggest and take your notes in a bound notebook.

              Comment


              • #8
                See, you never know when you'll pick up something useful! Thanks, JPM. I love the checkbox suggestion.

                I've always kept chronological notes, but getting the information out to the various files has been a problem. What I lack is time to go back through and process, because I usually end up running from fire to fire, or deadline to deadline.

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