You can read and read many different blogs and forums and there are many different ways to take notes and organize yourself.

I have read them – in fact many of the blogs are in RSS reader and I take a peak at them when I have a few moments of time. – I don’t know why but I enjoy learning new hints and tips to help me organize myself better.

A few years back I discovered writing in small journals and notebooks. I started out writing in Steno Pads that we had at work. These are great for taking quick notes and organizing myself for the day when ever I would receive a phone call or work on a issue – In the notebook it went – I was going through quite a few notebooks as you can guess. I then would take the info that was relative to an issue and the rewrite it into my permanent notebook (This is after I gave up using a PDA – Great for searching out data but hard to input and harder to always sync and keep the battery fresh. Basically a pain in the rear end.) My permanent notebook was a journal I picked up the local bookstore in Downtown Pittsburgh near my bus stop. I loved the small size and the quad ruled paper that it had it in. This was my first Miquelrius Journal. I actually first saw this at the computer help desk where I saw one of the techs using one while on the phone easily looking up past issues and their resolution she made organization look so easy. I asked her about it and this I believe was the down fall of me purchasing notebooks and pens. She showed me a few of the ways she organized it and followed her lead. She always numbered each page. (Which I also read on quite a few blogs) She used alot of sticky notes to lead her to the correct area of her notebook to help her solve one of her cases. She was always faster then trying to find the info in the database that was given to them to try and do what she was doing in her notebook.

It was hard for me to start writing in the notebook journal as it was so pristine and I guess I felt intimidated looking at all those blank pages staring back at me. To make my process of writing in the journal one step closer was to number all the pages – Well not all but in the bottom right hand corner I would number ever other page. 1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 11 ……….

Then I would draw and comment on the inside flap what I was using this journal for. (I read this somewhere and it really does help get over the new notebook jitters) I now no longer had a pristine journal but a personalized organization system. (Ok Ok the start of one)

The next step was to keep a hard copy of all the number I had in my cell phone. Since I was no longer syncing my pda or carrying it with me I needed a way to have all my numbers with me where I could find them. So, What I did was to divide my notebook up into smaller sections. First Section was for Business – Second section was for Personal Notes – and Third was General Info. The Phone number went into the third section. I took and wrote out all my phone numbers and that was the start of my notebook. After I finished writing out all my numbers I then took several high liters and highlited the names of the people I just wrote down. Pink was Personal – Blue was Business – Yellow was the important numbers. This little step helped me look over the list of over 300 numbers and spot the frequently called numbers that much easier.

Next I did a step similar to my friends – I made an index section – I marked about 10 pages in the back of the notebook to just be cross reference data / Index of what I wrote. Say I wote in my personal section all the birthdays of all my friends and family – something I don’t use on a daily basis – I wrote it down in the index – Birthdays and Anniversaries – p105 – List of Past Christmas Presents – p157 (Whew no more embarrassing buying the same gift 2 years in a row)

This was the basic startup of how I started the analog way. This did take me some time getting used to writing in my notebook and once I got used to finding the data. I believe I was faster and more organized as I didn’t mind jotting a quick note down in my journal. But turning on the PDA removing the stylus getting to the right program – creating a new note – naming it and then finally being able to use graffiti to jot the note down. Since it was that much easier I was writing and documenting more instead of trying to remember it all. I didn’t always jot the notes down into the index so I would do a weekly round up that out remembered from one of the organization meetings I got to go to. I would go through my notes and it I thought it was worth noting I wrote it down in the index and noted the page. This also allowed me to cross reference some of the info. So, if I ran out of room on a page and needed to write more I would just make a note of the page I had additional info on and highlight it. I believe this is what started me reading more about organization and note taking. I wanted to be better at it then I was. And I am pretty sure that is the same reason you read so far in this long winded entry. In the next few days I will write about my modified Cornell Note Taking system. So be sure to stop back and comment here and let me know some of the tips you are using. Or if you think you might have a better way to do something I wrote about Please let me know I love to learn some more tricks and hacks. I know these hint and hacks really did work for me  – I still use this daily in my own business working on websites and in my computer services. My clients are amazed that I am so low tech with my fountain pen and little black journal.
Thanks for Reading.
Digital Alan – Merlins Tower

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