I very vaguely remember a statment made by David Allen in his Getting Things Done book that we being a part of advanced civilization, cannot afford to be so unproductive when we can actually be productive.
I have long been thinking about keeping a log of the work related activities, with the only goal of coming back to them in future for reference purposes.
When I first heard about a twitter like application for the corporate, I thought it was a very great idea. I like the idea of people tweeting about different work related things as and when they pop up in their minds. Whether they discover something – a bug, a hidden feature, the way something is done, get a question that was never asked before, get a perspective of things etc. Whatever that comes to their minds get tweeted. Interested people can follow them and comment on their thoughts. What’s more, it is searchable, so we can know if something has occured in the past or not just with a click. If not for, “whats happening right now”, the search would still let us explore through this loosely coupled knowledge base of employees. I am very excited about such a system!!
The point is this – taking notes during work hours is definitely going to be useful in the long term. We never know when something is useful. One guy, Bill Shaw, has this point to make:
Now again, if you’re like me, you might be saying, “This is a pain.” I admit it, it is a pain, but a small one compared to the pain it can alleviate later. The payoff comes when you see an InvalidNamespaceException two months (or two years) later. I absolutely, positively, 100% guarantee this will happen to you (not a guarantee). There will be a nagging feeling in your brain that you’ve seen this before. “Of course I’ve seen this before! What did I do?” If you’ve taken notes, you won’t have to rack your brain. Simply search for “InvalidNamespaceException” and the answer will pop up.
One more thing. Be sure to back up your note files! There’s only one thing that’s worse than keeping notes, and that’s learning to rely on keeping notes, and then losing them all. I have used notes that are seven years old to solve a problem. They will quickly become one of the most valuable tools in your toolbox. No, they will be the most valuable tool in your toolbox. The most valuable knowledge of your career doesn’t come from books, webpages, or conferences, but from the contents of your previous experience. Take notes!