So, you have something important to say to a friend or co-worker. You start speaking and notice they are checking their phone or their laptop, looking around the room for something else that might be more worthy of their time.
You feel disrespected and unappreciated. The recipient feels like their time has been wasted, and they fail to benefit from whatever you felt was worth discussing.
Alternatively, think on the times when you’ve got something important to say and the other person, or group, listens attentively and takes notes.
It shows you they care and find enough value in what you’re saying to tune everything else out and actually write down your ideas and concepts so they remember. As the person delivering the information, you feel heard and respected. That’s important.
But the person taking notes benefits the most. Rather than letting good information slip through their fingertips, they have now captured it, to study, contemplate and implement.
I’m a note taker. I have lists and lists of (very organized) notes, on just about every aspect of my life.
HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES
Things to Study
Things to Purchase
Our Dream Home
Gifts Ideas for Ilea (my wife)
Tweets and Blog Ideas
Movies to Watch
Swahili (words and phrases I’m studying)
Philmazingness (hilarious things my Irish friend, Phil says)
New Business Ideas
For Our Children (notes of wisdom to pass to our children)
*And lots of notes about each business and consulting venture
And those are just a few of the notes I have going. I keep them updated daily. When I sit for a meeting, I have my iPhone out taking notes (not checking email). When I have a random thought during the day, I take a note so I don’t forget.
After all these years of note taking, I can’t imagine how many ideas and lessons would have been missed out on if I hadn’t been deliberate and disciplined about taking notes. I’m a busy guy. Without the notes, so much gets lost along the way.
I take notes because I care enough to do so. I’m a “carpe diem” guy. I want to get the most out of life, and give the most back. In order to do that, I am constantly looking at ways to be the best me I can be; to operate at my fullest potential. Taking notes is certainly at the top end of the list.
Try it for a week. See where it gets you. See how much more you get accomplished and how much more in tune you are with the world around you. It’s a discipline, and a choice, just like anything else. But it’s a pretty easy one considering the payoff.
* I use Evernote and have found it to be my favorite note program, especially with a Mac and iPhone.