I take notes.
I can’t help but listen to others and write down what it is that they have said. I can’t help but summarize and ask questions. I think that margins are for drawings and diagrams. I think that everything requires context, and I am the one to provide it. I share these notes, freely and openly with anyone who cares to take part. I do not believe in a single pad of paper that stays in my possession. I believe in the screenshot and the annotation. I work with front and back channels, streaming information back and forth to provide both with my own perspective on what is possible. I take these notes without thought. I give attribution and I put quotes around what needs them. I do not put words in anyone’s mouth nor do I exclude voices from my notes.
I document with time stamps and version histories. I link and revise. I do not save as. Everything is live. Always. It stays in the cloud as I change it. I do not pull it down and then reset expectations of where it should live. I embed and I publish. I disseminate and never retract. I build upon rather than starting from scratch. The blank piece of paper is never really blank to me. It always has a preface, a foreword that I can look back at. Everything is prologue for something else.
And this documentation lets me stand on something real. It isn’t a vanity exercise. It isn’t something that I use to lord over others, to make them think about what it is that they have done. I live an annotated life, and I know from where all of those annotations came. I can reconstruct what is missing from the spaces that I frequent. I can support when someone leaves. I can cushion the blow of new information. The things I use talk to one another. There are no silos of information or unconnected dots. I do not wait for the planets to align to start working. I project when that will happen and work toward having everything ready for that reality.
My notes set me free.
They make me bulletproof. They make action items tangible. They turn being uninformed into being ignorant. Not availing yourself of their collected knowledge is tantamount to hearing half of the story and asking for the same meeting every day. Moving forward is a function of seeing the velocity of notes. Being able to project into the future is a function of being able to see all of the data. My notes are the data points that I live by. They are the story. They are the conversation.
My documentation never leaves me. It is always at my fingertips. Let me search for you. Let me know what it is you want to know. I will find it out. I will see where it took place and what everyone was saying at the time. And if I can’t find it then it probably didn’t happen. Our memories are faulty. We need notes to build a case. We need notes to know where we stand. We need notes to help us with collecting the artifacts of our life. We need to outsource our brain so that we don’t have to rely on our brains to make judgements without supporting evidence. Our brains aren’t very good at that.