If you’re one of the many people who take notes in a bound notebook for your work related projects, stop and ask yourself a very important question – is what I’m writing searchable? While I understand it feels good to hand write notes, jot your thoughts down or even “doodle” an idea, once captured in a notebook, these recordings become very difficult to access without having to re-read the entire book or chapter. When it comes to capturing ideas I think we’re all really “scrappers” at heart. If you’re not familiar with the term “scrappers” you’ll need to watch the 2009 movie New in Town staring Renee Zellweger, where the factory workers are big time into cutting and pasting. But the type of cutting and pasting they’re into, is the manual kind vs. electronic. In today’s day and age of electronics, being able to quickly retrieve information using search technology is a must and simple solutions, using familiar IT are often the best.
One of my favorite “existing” technologies is Microsoft Excel; ideal for sorting, racking and stacking ideas. Set up correctly, it serves as an efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool as well as a Project (task) Management system. If you’re interested in trying out an easy to use, Excel based note keeping system, you’ll need to test drive W5 Templates.
W5 Templates is a mini database, that harnesses the power of MS Excel and allows you to keep track of your projects ideas, notes, and action items in the comfort of a software tool you’ve used for years. No IT support or programming needed. A single Settings page allows you to organize your thoughts, priorities and next steps so the system works for you, not you for it.
So the next time you’re ready to manually write down a set of meeting notes, ask yourself if you’ll need to quickly retrieve the contents. If the answer is yes, you’re a W5T’er, if the answer is no, you’re a scrapper.