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Write It Down

One of the most common mistakes I see among technology professionals is the failure to write down the tasks they commit to complete.

Consider this scenario:

 “Your day is going well, and you arrive at your last meeting of the day, early enough to be the first one in the conference room. You’re daydreaming about the evening’s activities. Then as the meeting begins, the project manager displays the Gantt chart on the monitor, and you see your name on it with an important task you forgot. “Oh no,” you mutter under your breath as you scramble to think of a way to avoid the inevitable discomfort you are about to experience.

As the meeting turns your direction, you explain why that simple task wasn’t completed and hope that word of your misstep doesn’t escalate to management. You quickly make up some excuse as to why it didn’t get done and commit to a new due date. This new task is now in the front of your mind – because of the impact it has on the others- and yet without anything to write on, you still don’t write it down, risking another misstep.”

I see this time and time again, even amongst senior staff members. People show up to meetings without any way to write down commitments they make. It is a very simple thing but if ignored can have devastating consequences on your productivity and your reputation as a high performer.

Many of us rely so much on our brains to keep track of our commitments, but our gray matter is not well suited for this task. You can be tricked into thinking, “I’ll never forget that” because at the time it seems there is no way that you won’t remember the commitment. But there are so many distractions every day it’s easy to forget essential tasks.

There is a simple fix for this – write it down.  Keep it simple:  Carry a small paper notebook that you check throughout the work day will help prevent the embarrassment of missing a commitment. You can use one of the many note-taking apps on your phone and tablet, but it is easy to let these items fall into the noise of all the

Field Notes, a popular notebook company based out of Chicago, IL, uses the slogan, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” There is a lot of truth in that statement – just the simple act of writing it down can help implant it in your memory and decrease the likelihood of forgetting it. Do yourself and your coworkers a huge favor: write it down!