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A BIT of HABIT – Taking Notes Improves Performance August 10, 2010

Posted by aglakadam in Career News And updates, EQ, Life and all, Management.
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One of my ex boss liked me as a subordinate only because of my habit of taking notes. More than a decade back while I was working with an organization in Pune my immediate superior used to like me a lot & publicly applaud that he liked my habit of taking notes of all that he spoke in the meeting. I took notes not only of all what he said in the meeting but of all what I said and a brief of most of what was said by the others in the meeting hall. Even in a one to one meeting I used to take notes and this habit continues even today.

In today’s world taking notes is only the prerogative of either the students or the secretary! Apart from these two we can not see anyone else taking notes (of course I exclude the press journalists here!). My recommendation to all young managers & professionals is that one should get into the habit of taking notes. This habit shall come very handy for all of you in your career progress.

When you take notes the first and the most prominent benefit is that important data is not lost. As per one survey an average mind encounters more than 100000 thought stimulus every day. In such a cluttered mind space it will be expecting too much from our mind to store, remember & recall elementary data! Also this tends to reduce the efficiency of brain a la the cookies in the computer system!

When we take notes we ensure that the date and timing of the event is recorded. In the event one has to recall dates referring to any important event of the past the notes diary can come handy. Refer to this diary and you instantly recall the events not only in brief but also in elaborate context. The catch here is to use a date diary and not just a note pad!

The habit of taking notes also helps us to act. What has been written down in our diary gets reminded repeatedly and the chances are that we do not skip on action. Overall performance on an individual increases when notes are recorded. Check with a few of the successful professionals in your social sphere, be it a principle or businessman if they take notes. I am sure majority would respond in affirmative.

However when I suggest to take notes I do not mean to take down the complete lecture of the speech given by your boss.. Nope. Taking important notes is also an art one should learn. In school we were taught to create brief synopsis of a lengthy lesson. Short notes has been taught to us right at the stage of primary schooling. Taking notes in the business sphere is just an application of this lesson.

What is required is to identify the keywords in every sentence. This keyword should be enough for one to recall the complete sentence. When your boss or the client speaks in front of you, you should be in a position to smartly scribble the keywords of the communication without loosing the eye contact. If you loose the eye contact you will loose the other persons interest and attraction. The notes has to be neat & concise. After the discussion is over immediately refer to the notes taken and in case any word has been sketched illegible – set it right then and there itself, lest you tend to forget or misinterpret in future.

I have observed one more benefit of taking notes, when you take notes you make the person on the other side feel important. Moreover he knows he needs to talk absolutely sense not just beat about the bush! All this ensures quality & content in the communication. You finish up the key issues fast and wastage of time is also avoided.
Overall it is indeed a good habit for all of us to take notes. Try it once and see the impact, I am sure you will get into this fruitful habit. Remember HABIT once formed is difficult to loose… you give away H, A BIT remains, you loose A, BIT of it remains, let go off the B .. “IT” still remains!

Ajit Varwandkar



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