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A notepad is a flexible gathering point you can take with you wherever you go to jot down ideas, notes, and action items very quickly. The notepad is a little bit unique in that it combines some of your hand- written notes with no direct action required with other concrete action items that need to be processed. First, let's talk about what kind of notepad you might use. Personally, I use a notepad the size of a full-size sheet of paper. I combined that notepad in my padfolio with a portable inbox, making it easy for me to carry both gathering points with me wherever I go.
Some people also have had success with very small notepad, such as this one here. You can find these notepads at any office supply store at a very small expense. These are nice because you can carry them with you in your pocket wherever you go. Another option for a notepad for some people is a tablet PC or a tablet device which allows them to handwrite their notes in a digital form. These digital tablets can be used in the same way one would use a larger physical notepad.
Whichever one of these notepads that you use, here are a couple of best practices for gathering items to the notepad. Number one, make sure that you clearly indicate action items. Separate them from just your general notes by using some sort of a symbol. In my case, I use an open check box, which lets me know that I need to process it. This is very different than completing it, and I'll show later on how you process these items.
But for now, just whenever you encounter some sort of action item, give it a symbol, a star, an open box, or even placing little plastic tags on the side has been successful for some people. The second best practice is that when you get back to your inbox, or to your office, if you're using a paper notepad, rip off all the pages and bring them to blank. Then put all of those pages into the inbox. This makes it easy for you to not have to remember to go back and look through the notepad to find those action items.
This practice gives you a blank slate each day, helping you do not multitask during the day and be distracted by other unresolved items that you've written down previously. Take a moment right now and decide what kind of notepad you're going to carry with you wherever you go.
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