This post is part of my wider enquiry into my note-making practices.
Why do I make notes?
One of those questions that seems ridiculously simple on first look, but which pull out more depth as you sit on it for a while.
Recording and planning action
- What did I do?
- What have I got to do tomorrow / next month / next quarter?
- What is the plan for any of those future things?
- what do I need to remember in order to do this task or project?
- what did I find out?
- who else has something useful to say on this topic?
- what questions are unanswered?
- what are the possible courses of action?
- what do I think I should do?
- what are the implications of what I have discovered?
What do I want to improve
When I considered my own note-making practice I observed that it was mostly short-term, and mostly task-focused. In other words keep just enough records to remember key conversations and decisions, and record just enough knowledge to satisfice for the task in hand. Often those task-focused notes are nothing more than a series of links to relevant online resources.
In terms of longer-term notes, although I have access to plenty of tools, I found I wasn’t using them very much. In particular I noticed that for much of my professional activity I was relying on tacit knowledge, and that my use of explicit tools was somewhat constrained to my “hobby” activities.
In part that seems to be about how I manage the perennial balancing act of what I can discuss in public and what is proprietary to my employer. That barrier was in turn reflected in a disconnect of tooling - the more usable tools were the ones I have associated with my public discourse (such as this!).
I had no over-arching model of practice for my note-making practices which might serve as a scaffolding for improvement.
Goals for the process
- Develop a frame of practice that can guide my note-making.
- Integrate note-making for knowledge management and note-making for work planning into a single approach
- Harmonise my practices across personal and professional spheres to reduce friction, whilst maintaining appropriate separation of public and confidential notes.
- Simplify (or at least harmonise) the tool-sets I use