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Do you keep a journal? I don’t mean a scheduling of upcoming events and appointments, I mean a historical diary – as in the things that teenage girls are normally associated with (that may seem slightly sexist, but it’s generally accepted that boys don’t keep diaries).
Diaries and Journals can be life savers for contractors, freelancers and small business owners when you need to refer back about when things happened, who said what, when and the timeline of problems. Somebody who can say in a meeting “Phil confirmed to switch off the server at 4:15pm on Tuesday 12th” is going to be believed more than somebody who responds with “yes, but somebody, I think it was Tony, said not to – he may have said this on the Monday or the Wednesday – I think it may have been Wednesday”.
Diaries and journals don’t have to be big. Business journals don’t have to be war and peace on everything that happened at every point in a day, but can be very useful to record key points as they occur.
I keep an electronic journal and quick but important events I like to record include:
- Go ahead’s during phone calls
- Key decisions (during a meeting or a chat, somebody says to go with option A or delay the project)
- When people promise to get back to me
- Dates when I send out documents, contracts or invoices
- Notes about disagreements, who was involved and how it was resolved
There are plenty of ways of keeping a journal. For some, paper will work, but for me Electronic is best. I keep an electronic journal on my Android Tablet (always with me during the working day). Having an electronic journal means I can very quickly add a note, categorize it (normally by customer/prospect) and then quickly search for the key information.
Electronic journals are available on PCs (one is already available in Outlook), for iPhones/iPADS and of course Android (I use Orange Diary for android which I can recommend).
Making an entry during a phone conversation or meeting takes me just 10 or 20 seconds, but it has saved my bacon on a number of occasions.