There is a Chinese proverb which says “the palest ink is stronger than the strongest memory.”
This is true.
Our ability to recall conversations and events can be unreliable and when you work in a leadership position then this can be embarrassing.
How often do we commit to paper what someone has said?
Not often but sometimes we’d be in a better position if we had.
How often have you had a great idea and then forgotten it?
Probably quite a few times.
The secret is simple – write it down!
We need to write things down because inevitably we do forget. We have such an enormous amount of information to absorb that we simply can’t retain it all.
Writing everything down is not necessary but making a few notes after an important conversation is good practice. Do it whilst it’s fresh! As Keith Coats (2015) reminds us,
The value in taking regular time to record your reflections is often only fully realized when rereading them further down the road and situations or details that would have long been forgotten spring vividly into life.
As you go about your daily business then carry a notebook with you to record ideas, thoughts, brainwaves and Eureka moments that could otherwise get lost in the busyness of the day.
Having regular brain dumps and journalling throughout the day is a great habit to get into.
Writing things down helps us:
- to remember
- to think
- to clear our minds
- to process our emotions
- to organise our thoughts
- to save mental energy
- to define goals
- to clarify our priorities and intentions
- to understand with more perspective
- to develop our personal development
- to record our personal and professional journeys
- to gain a sense of fulfilment
- to aim high
- to ensure important ideas and conversations are not lost
- to reduce stress
- to generate more ideas
- to rehydrate ideas
- to shelve things
- to motivate us
- to improve our focus
- to take action