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Day 5: Create Notes for Then, Not Now

Essay Full Text

We capture information in "note" form for many reasons.

  • As a form of emptying our mind like in a journal
  • As a way to remember things for the short term like in a grocery list
  • As a way to aid in learning something for the long term like in class or book notes
  • As a way to put information back into the world for others like in a letter or email

We are not creating these notes for the current moment - we are capturing them for a purpose that is somewhere in the unknown of the future.

When we create a note we need to be kind to our future self and make the note as easy to use as possible.

I recently reviewed notes I took during a very important meeting. Thankfully, I was reviewing them just a couple of days after the meeting. I quickly realized that while I had filled the front and back of an 8.5" by 11" piece of paper, the notes were barely understandable on their own. I spent about ten minutes rewriting the notes and turning them into something that my future self can actually use and understand. Will it be good enough? Only time will tell. However, I know it's a far cry better than where I started.

This experience was a good reminder that I need to build in time to review and synthesize my hasty notes from meetings into something my future self can actually use.

Look at the notes you took yesterday.

Do you need to give your future self a helping hand and spend a few minutes making notes they will understand?

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