Taking daily notes seems like a simple concept, right? Planning the day, recording conversations, ideas for improvements or corrective actions are some of the usual items that I record in my daily planner, and I’m betting that most safety professionals are much the same.
When I record my notes, I am usually quite messy; my hand writing is often sloppy, I scribble all over the pages and I’m left-handed on top of that. It sometimes makes it difficult to quickly recall information, which is critical in the field of workplace safety.
The easiest way that I have found to help make my notes faster to read and prioritize is to colour code them.
For example, when I am planning the normal “things to do” list during my day (call so and so, prepare X report, meeting at whatever o’clock), I will usually record the items in a black or blue standard ink. This isn’t anything earth-shattering and is exactly the same way that just about everyone records their daily activities.
The next step that I take to make my notations more effective is to apply a different colour to problems, set-backs or goals that have not been met and apply another colour to any improvements, new ideas and projects that have gone well. This way, I am able to record all of the things during my day that went well and also the things that went off-track. Throughout the work week, I am able to refer to the improvements or new ideas that I want to see created and am also able to organize and quickly identify anything that I might need to follow up on for projects that did not work out very well.
I use red and green as contracting colours in my notebooks. When I read anything in red, I know that I need to follow up on it and when I read anything in green I know that I have an improvement that I need to set into action. I normally use the Blueline (www.blueline.com) series of notebooks. Even their medium sized books will hold two pens in the coiled ring, which makes multiple ink colours easier.
The last step in my colour coding process is to make a summary page on either a bi-weekly or a monthly basis. This helps to create a quick guide for lessons that have been learned from any set-backs and will identify the improvements that have implemented. During any performance appraisal, quickly recalling improvements during the year has been vital in showcasing my efforts to open potential opportunities for advancement or improved compensation.
Hopefully you can implement and see benefit from some of these ideas into your daily notations.
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