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09 Nov

Don’t have office sleepovers

Datum: 2017-11-09 05:57

We some­times write notes. Well, most of us do any­way. We are on the phone and agree that we will do some­thing, and to not for­get it, we scrib­ble it down on a piece of paper. We are in the mid­dle of a task when it occurs to us that we mustn’t for­get to do some­thing else as soon as pos­si­ble, so we write it down on a note. In our striv­ing towards list­ing our to-do-tasks in as few places as is pos­si­ble, and prefer­ably nar­row­ing it down to one, in order to make our work lives some­what eas­i­er, these notes can feel as a small sin — as if we are doing some­thing we are not sup­posed to, that it is wrong to use notes, and that it is a sign of our unso­phis­ti­ca­tion or dete­ri­o­rat­ing structure.

A quick scrib­ble has its benefits
I think of it dif­fer­ent­ly. When we write down some­thing we want to remem­ber on a note dur­ing a phone call it is because it is the eas­i­est way to doc­u­ment some­thing impor­tant at that very moment. If we scrib­ble it down quick­ly we will main­tain focus on what the oth­er per­son is say­ing instead of inter­rupt­ing them and chit-chat while we open and log in to the tool we use for our to-do-list.

The impor­tant aspect of using notes isn’t whether we do it or not — it is that we make sure to process the notes through­out the day and either write what they say on our to-do-list or do what they remind us to do. It is not until we let the notes stay overnight at the office that they will take on a life of their own — inde­pen­dent of our com­pre­hen­sive to-do-list. They tend to mul­ti­ply fast if we do and end up all over the place. When that hap­pens, we lose that great overview of all the things we have to do.

Remove does not equal complete
In order to get rid of a note we do not nec­es­sar­i­ly have to have time to do what it says right now. Instead we are only required to trans­fer the infor­ma­tion writ­ten on it to where it actu­al­ly belongs (on the to-do-list, for instance) before throw­ing the note away.

Do this
If you want to pre­vent the notes from mul­ti­ply­ing from now on, make it a habit to trans­fer what you have writ­ten on them to where the infor­ma­tion actu­al­ly belongs as soon as pos­si­ble — or at least before leav­ing work for the day.
If you feel encour­aged by this sim­ple method, make it your goal to not have a sin­gle note left on your desk when you leave the office every day this week. If you suc­ceed, reward your­self gen­er­ous­ly on Fri­day afternoon.

Keep your cool
When you make a point of dis­pos­ing of all the notes cre­at­ed through­out the day before leav­ing the office and do not let them stay overnight, you will main­tain a struc­tured overview of all your tasks since you keep them all gath­ered in a sin­gle place. You will feel peace of mind more of the time since you know that the risk of miss­ing some­thing is as low as it gets, which at least to me, is priceless.

What’s your way?
Do you have some oth­er way of deal­ing with notes that has worked ter­rif­i­cal­ly? Then please leave a com­ment and share your thoughts on the matter.