I’ve often wondered why the people who are the most productive tend to be those who carry around notepads and take notes.
I would say it isn’t necessarily the fact that they take notes and can refer back to them later. Or that they have an easy to follow checklist to keep them on track. Those are important benefits but I don’t think that’s the only reason.
I think it has to do with the act itself, the motivation behind the act. When you bring a notepad to a meeting, you’re looking for things to write down. Looking for important details and facts, you’re more engaged with the meeting. So you get more out of it.
That doesn’t magically happen just because you carry around a notepad. Or if you write down everything in a meeting. It happens because of the process of filtering, prioritizing and active engagement. Being present and making choices about what is important, what should be remembered and what you should write down.
Often you don’t need to go back to your notes. The question is, would you have remembered as much from the meeting had you not taken notes?