They say you learn something new every day.

Posts tagged ‘Notes’

Remembering What’s-its-name (13/03/2012)

I keep forgetting things.

And not just me, my friends as well. We all keep forgetting things. We’re all just a big pile of forgetful what’s-their-names.

Last week, in two separate instances, I had two friends around. Both of them bought something from Tesco on their way, and both of them put in in my fridge. And in both cases we said to each other, “you’d better not forget that.”

“Ha ha,” we laughed, “no, we’d better make sure we remember that.”

In both cases we forgot.

And this morning, I left my lunch in the fridge. Talk about not learning from mistakes.

Of course, the reason for this, is that it’s not a habit. And when it’s not a habit, you forget. 

A key thing here is making it easy to remember things. At the moment, the way I’ve forced myself to remember things when I go out is by moving one of my shoes. It’s sort of like tying a knot in your handkerchief. But, as the internet says:

Problems arise, however, when it comes to recalling precisely what it is you are supposed to remember. Also, with the rise of the paper tissue, and the decline of the handkerchief, this practice has fallen out of use. Have you ever tried to tie a knot in a paper tissue? It is very difficult, it becomes ragged and torn, you will soon become frustrated, and may swear profusely. Nowadays it is far easier to set an alarm on your mobile phone. 

Fair enough, but I’d rather encourage myself to remember. I don’t want to have to keep faffing around with alarms and phone notes. The solution may just be to move a shoe. Or it may be to have my whiteboard somewhere near the door so I can write notes to myself. Or maybe just a pad near the door.

At the moment, I’m going for the shoe until I come up with something better. 

Take Note (12/02/2012)

I’ve realised that I’m really bad at taking notes. It was sort of one of my New Year’s Resolutions to take better notes. But that hasn’t worked out so far. As you can see below from a typical meeting:

Some average notes

There’s two things that strike me about this actually.

Firstly, the “quick win” rocket, and how messy and ridiculous a lot of this is.

Secondly, how unimportant a lot of this is. It’s not that I don’t understand these notes – a lot of them were just unimportant or not chased up.

I’ve been thinking about this note taking problem. And I think it fits into a few other things. Quite a few of my projects (and projects in general at work) are dragging on. There’s a lot of scope creep and project failures.

I think all of this can possibly be solved by setting slightly clearer boundaries and “logging” things correctly.

Take notes, for example. There are a finite areas or workstreams that I am involved with. Every note I take should fit into one of them. If it doesn’t, I either have to create a new one, or not take the note. In many ways this fits back into my idea of a software solution that encourages you to work, communicate and log in the appropriate area. Taking notes on a per meeting basis is wrong, because it means all your notes are sorted by meeting, or event. But in reality, you want your notes sorted by category, or type.

Computers are very good at this sort of thing, since you can log a many-to-many relationship. But humans not so much so.

I wonder if one option here is to make a small note logging application of some type and use a computer to take notes.

Whether I do this or not, I think I’m going to have to start logging notes in a more project based way, because it’s beginning to get ridiculous.

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