Come December and we start thinking about business diary for the new year.

“What do I want to do about it in the new year?”

“Am I going to continue the way I did in the ending year or do something different?”

I always had one major issue with the business diaries. Since the pages are day-wise, I ended up having several pages nearly blank and some of the pages crammed to the extreme if I had a bunch of meetings and took several notes on that day. It looked very inefficient.

Some meetings ended into the lunch break and I had a problem of “what do I do with this brick”.

I ended up having an ever-growing heap of diaries from past years and did not know what to do with it.

Our presentations migrated from OHP (I am sure some readers don’t even know what this means) to Powerpoint and I had to carry a laptop for presentations. Even if I was not presenting, I still needed to carry a laptop for referring to relevant material. So when I was already carrying a laptop, carrying another bulky diary became inconvenient.

Eventually, as our meetings were booked online, the diary was not required to be used as a meetings planner.

Last but definitely not least, my notes stayed safe in the diary and only occasionally ended up in timely execution.

I had come up with a solution, a few years back for this, and it has been working quite well.

Here is my solution:

  1. Buy (or convince your organization (I had done that)) A5 size notebooks for taking notes in meetings. A5 size is so small that you could slide it in your jacket pocket or even if you carry it in hand, it is not heavy.
  2. In the meetings, take quick notes in the notebook instead of struggling to type them on digital devices. More often the display of your digital device might be required for some other purpose. Moreover scribble has to be faster than typing. If possible flag the action points right away while noting them down.
  3. Once you are back from the meeting, process your notes, and as you process them strike of those lines in the notebook. Your goal would be to keep your notebook in a state where everything written in it is struck off and the contents are transferred to a more durable and ubiquitous digital storage. Since you will be processing your notes immediately, you will end up making decisions about what you are going to do about each of them. Actions go to your to-do list. Minutes go to your digital meeting minutes document.  Some will end up in creating meeting invites. And so on.
  4. This notebook compliments your laptop which you will use to refer to your past notes.
  5. Once your notebook gets filled, you could happily shred it as it would have already served its purpose. Don’t forget to dogear a page that is a few pages before the end indicating that you should procure your next one, then.
  6. Interestingly you lose nothing if you lose this kind of notebook.
  7. Now the final question of what to do with the business diary. The easy answer is don’t buy. And if you are gifted one and is made with beautiful paper, repurpose it for creative work like drawing mind maps or taking notes during your learning sessions.

However, there is a small problem with it as these diaries do not have page numbers, and it could become tricky to search for your notes, later. The best way out is to reserve the first few pages of the diary for the table of contents and to use the dates in place of the page numbers in the table of contents.

Try out this simple but powerful idea in the coming year and witness its power.

Subscribe to my newsletter, to get stories like this and more, directly in your inbox!