Write It Down to Remember.

here's a blank notepad

It’s 11 p.m. on a Monday night, and there’s this one last work thing I have to do.

When I’m on calls with clients, I’m always taking notes. Through two years of Inbox Collective, I’ve filled up a few notebooks with bullet points and to-dos for clients.

When I first started, I didn’t do much with these notes. I’d write them down in the notebook, and that was that. That system worked fine at previous jobs, where I saw my colleagues every day, and where the projects I was working on were often things I had to deal with on a daily — or at least weekly — basis. I took notes, then got to work on whatever tasks I had to do.

But in my new job, I might go a month or more without talking to a client. My old notebook system didn’t work anymore, since I needed to be able to quickly — in those five or ten minutes between calls — refresh my memory of what we might have talked about last. For the money these clients pay, they deserve to talk with a partner who’s ready to dive in and use the time together well.

So I made a change: I created a Google Doc for every client, and at the end of every day, I type my notes from our call into the doc. That way, I’ve got a searchable database. Every Sunday night, I go through my notes to prep for that week’s meetings. I usually check back the morning of my calls, too — things get busy, and by Thursday or Friday, if I don’t write it down, I might forget my own name!

(I still do like taking the initial notes on actual paper — I find that if I’m typing and talking at the same time, I’m usually just transcribing the conversation, not actually paying attention and asking the right question. With the paper notebook, I stay more engaged throughout.)

I wasn’t always great about moving my notes over to the Google Doc. I remember one day, early on in 2019, when I’d gone a few days without typing up my notes. I’d gotten a little lazy about the whole thing. And when I finally got around to typing them up, I probably had 30 pages of notes to deal with. The task took me hours.

So now, no matter what else is happening in my day, I make time at the end of the day to type up my notes. It takes a few minutes, and it’s sometimes a pain, but it gets done — and I know that in a few weeks, when I need to refresh my memory, those notes will be there to make sure I can pick up exactly where I left off with a client.


That photo was taken by Charles Deluvio for Unsplash.