Quick Note-taking TipSometimes I think that David Allen’s Getting Things Done action management methodology really feels natural to me, because so many of the things that David talks about I have already been doing for a long time. Getting “stuff” out of my head and on paper is something I have always done, but not as thoroughly and rigorously as I am doing now as a GTDer.

For instance, I’ve always been an extensive note-taking kind of person. Whenever I’m talking with a client – face to face or on the phone – I feel the need to take extensive notes. This doesn’t mean I write down everything that is being said literally, I merely write down just enough so I can recreate the entire conversation even years later if need be. The conversation was important enough to remember, but I do not want it to linger in my mind! Of course, now that I am an avid fan of GTD, I do not simply “archive” these notes in one of the stacks that used to live on my desk. No, I throw them in my in-basket and they get processed and organized just like anything else.

When I was learning GTD (and I still am!) it was really funny to hear David suggest something that I have been doing for as long as I remember. This actually happened to me many times while reading his books and listening to his seminar. And this finally brings me to my quick tip for today :) .

Quick Note-taking Tip

Whenever you write something down – could be a draft of a report or a quick note on a scrap of paper – make a habit of always writing down the date and time and – if applicable – the person you are talking to.


This tip alone has really served me well over the years. The small amount of time it takes to write down these items will easily pay off. I have experienced several occasions (especially when dealing with large corporations over the phone) where I was so glad I could reproduce very accurately WHEN I had been talking to WHOM and even very specifically about WHAT.

It will also really help whenever somebody claims to have forgotten when you made a certain agreement. There’s no denying on their part if you can faithfully reproduce the exact agreement, the exact date (or even time!) it was made, and who else was there when the agreement was made!

Try it for, say, 30 days and let me know if you’ve encountered a situation where this tip proved to be really helpful.