I have a friend that carries with him a notebook everywhere. In this day and age, with all of the digital everything’s – I had to ask him why the old pen and paper? He said, simply to write stuff down. Stuff – being one to get to a better understanding, I followed up with another question – what kind of stuff? Another simple answer – everything (from notes, comments, observations and thoughts). That was many years ago and I have to say – I carry my notebook and pen (most of the time) now. I really use mine for reflecting on stuff. I look at everything as an opportunity to have some thought on – a simple series of questions get my creative juices going – like:
- What happened?
- What was I trying to achieve?
- What went well and why?
- What didn’t go so well and why?
- How did it affect me?
- How did it affect others?
- What were the consequences (positive or negative) for myself and others?
- What could be done differently next time?
- Would this change improve the consequences?
These questions are printed on the first page of my notebook. They help to get me into the right frame. I don’t always make the time to sit down and think about stuff – but when the moment strikes, you have to be ready. Old paper and pen – never have failed me. Just the other day, I was out at lunch by myself and left the notebook in the car. I grabbed the closed paper like item (napkin) and wrote down my thoughts on what had happened in a very tense meeting that morning. Got back to the office and transferred the napkin to notebook.
I have to thank my friend again for a simple but effective way to capture my thoughts.