1. Organize your notes together in one place. When information is coming at you from all different directions all day long, the worst thing you can do is jot down notes here, there, and everywhere. Google Docs, Mac Notes, Post-Its stuck all over your desk...it’s a recipe for disaster. And, while you might feel like you’re being proactive by taking notes in the first place, it only serves to make you feel stressed and more scattered if you can’t find those notes later on when you need them. So what’s the remedy? Get one lined paper notebook and keep it handy at all times. This is the simplest thing you can do to manage the mayhem.
2. Promote focus and keep distractions at bay. Close. The. Laptop. Don’t get me wrong, my fingertips are glued to my laptop keyboard the vast majority of my days too, but there are times when you just have to shut it down and grab your spiral notebook. A prime example? In meetings. Whether you’re with your team or with a client, it’s best for focus, clarity, and retention to handwrite your notes. Plus, eye contact and the lack of distraction from email notifications can go a long way in creating meaningful workplace connections.
3. Handwriting promotes correlation. Since handwriting is slower than typing, you can’t just write every word you hear verbatim. This is key because when forced to paraphrase, you have to be engaged enough to fully understand what you’re writing down. This higher-level understanding enables you to see connections between things more easily, and these connections can help you streamline processes, saving both time and energy.
4. Keep your tasks top of mind. Creating a running do-list in your spiral notebook is incredible for keeping your tasks front and center. Super simple, yet dramatically effective, handwriting your list daily and crossing off items when complete serves two distinct purposes. First, you’ll better remember all your to-dos because writing improves retention. Second, that sense of accomplishment you’ll feel from achieving each micro goal will give you the inspiration and energy to tackle the next thing on the list.