In praise of the humble notebook
by Alex Shoobert, Wenta Business Advisor
The notebook is a tool many of us, if not all of us, have utilised in our lives. However, with the plethora of IT solutions now available to us, the humble notebook is in danger of being overlooked.
Although many of these IT solutions are extremely useful, I feel that there will always be a place for a good notebook too.
7 reasons why notebooks are better than a phone or tablet:
1. They encourage creativity – the sensation of pen on paper is much nicer than typing and a more enjoyable experience can lead to better ideas.
2. They are less likely to be stolen, break or cause mental anguish when they don’t operate as expected.
3. It doesn’t hurt your eyes to look at them for a long time.
4. Buying a new notebook and starting it is great for the clean slate/ new start mentality.
5. Writing things down helps you remember information. Physically writing, rather than typing, is proven to improve your memory of the information being recorded.
6. Just because it is physical doesn’t mean you can’t still link it with online information. Check out apps like ‘evernote’.
7. They are pretty (I make no apologies for this point).
5 tips on using a notebook:
1. Index – one of the problems with a notebook is that it can be hard to find things. Before you start a new book, leave a few pages at the front blank for an index. When you start your first entry, number the pages and add it to the index. i.e. p 1-4: Objectives 2017. This video will help you get started.
2. Keep it with you – If you have a few minutes on a journey or waiting for a meeting you can browse through and jot down any ideas you have.
3. Cornell system - This is a useful way to take notes in meetings. Draw a large margin on the left- hand side and a horizontal line about an inch from the bottom of the page. Key points or actions go in the left- hand column and a summary at the bottom and general notes in the main part. There are plenty of ‘How to’ guides on the system, such as this one.
4. Mind mapping – this can be a more creative way to take notes than in a linear format. Many argue that this fits better with the way we think about information.
5. Use symbols – Come up with a system so you can easily read your notes. For example; a box for actions with a cross through it when it is completed, a lightbulb for ideas, a question mark for further research required. Try using different colours.
5 ideas for notes you can make:
1. Ideas: A great way to come up with business ideas is to look out for daily frustrations or opportunities and jot them down so you can consider them later.
2. Brainstorming: What is getting in the way of your objectives? How can you resolve an issue? What ideas can you come up with for a new product or service? What would you do if money was no object?
3. Objectives: Annual, weekly and daily projects, goals and milestones. Also, looking back through these will provide you with a great record of your achievements to date.
4. Lists: things to do; potential customers; books or podcasts to check out. Writing lists is a great way to order your thoughts and put some control back into a hectic lifestyle.
5. Exploring your thoughts: Note down your values; how you want your customers to perceive you; what would you like your employees to say about your company?
At the end of the day, everyone is different and everyone has different methods of feeling inspired and organised. However, if you’re like me and find the nostalgic act of writing in a notebook comforting and productive then give my suggested points a try and let me know how you get on.
Get in touch and let me know what you think
@AlexShoobert or @TheWentaGroup.