Notebooks – the professional approach

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?

6 thoughts on “Notebooks – the professional approach

  1. I really don’t have a comment about notebooks, I just love the fact that you are so OCD about office supplies. I am too and it makes me happy to have another “crazy” out there 🙂

    • ha ha, I loved your 13 thumbtacks post 🙂 Always good to have more crazies, the more of us there are, the less crazy we are 🙂

      Do you not use notebooks at all?

  2. Trouty- my new gansta name for you 🙂

    Bankruptcy is a different animal of law. I only use notebooks for any hearings that come up, which are few and far between.

    My best friends are my post-its, thumbtacks and the white out that is like tape. I love that stuff!

    • excellent, AW calls me trouty, it seems to have stuck 🙂

      Generally we don’t use a lot of notebooks. A lot of the fee earners time (and mine) is spent on the leases and ancillary docs – drafting, amending, proofing, negotiating and completing the cycle up to as many times as it ends up being dragging out for. So the writing happens on the lease. The notebooks are just there to keep everything organised as there is too much for me to remember all of it, realistically.

      Post its are an absolute must for me I bought new rainbow coloured twisty ones. Like I commented on your blog, I’ve nowhere to put thumbtacks so I don’t use them 😦

  3. Pingback: The Day Book: tips for a more effective daily notebook « Notes in a Book

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