As any regular (or not so regular) reader will know I love notebooks and I have blogged on a number of occasions about how I use my notebooks. This has mainly been in the context of studying and notetaking and I was reminded that I haven’t discussed how I use notebooks in my professional life and how this differs from the academic approach.
At work I use notebooks a lot less than I did as a student. I work in a paperless office, we have excellent filing and case management systems therefore notebooks are less of a priority – but we all have them. There is obviously not the same structure/flow of work and I don’t need them all the time. Their main purposes are: meetings, to-dos, instructions from fee earners and notes/reminders.Everything else (specific work) has a place on our system/electronic file.
As alwaysI have a rather structured approach. My work notebooks/pads include:
- 1 notebook per key client (A4 exercise books)
- Spiral-bound Reporters Notebook for general meetings – easy to carry downstairs to the meeting-room, but enough paper so I’m not writing in tiny lettering and I can slip a pen in the spiral bit. I frequently write the “minutes” and type up what I write and circulate it round the team anyway. Everyone else can get away with having no notebook.
- Binder with pad for legal updates – This is for when we have legal training or update meetings -I use a binder so I can attach any information given out – case notes, power points etc but still have the pad to take notes.
- selection of A5 and A6 Legal Pads for scribbling instructions – this is my desk pad – I scribble things when people come and talk to me or give me instructions, I also draft attendance notes, doodle when on hold and do the math.
- A7 Black n’ Red which has a permanent place in my pocket for when I am walking around and someone calls me over to ask me to do something and I need to take notes. Or for when I go to see a fee earner about one thing and come back with an extra couple of jobs they want me to do. I can note the important stuff in this notebook so I don’t have to take up their time revisiting/emailing
- To-Do notebook and mousepad – for maintaining my to-do list.
- The “Bible” – my how-to guide for others. I made an extensive one in my last job for when I left and I’ve been putting together something similar to make it easier for me to train up new members of staff, as i am so busy I need them to get into the swing of things quickly. (more on this later).
What approach do you take?