Time moves in one direction, memory in another.
William Gibson. Writer.
60 Day Proof
A great little technique I like to use to ensure I make sense of my notes, doodles and scraps of information is to ensure that everything I write down is 60 day proof. Alright, I don’t always succeed but the majority of my notes are 60 day proof.
- Ever looked at a note you’ve made and wondered what it was all about?
- Or a number that no longer makes sense?
- Or even worse, a meeting and subsequent decision that nobody can remember discussing or who was involved?
Some of these notes may not be important, but when you become a manager you will indeed have some notes that are of the utmost importance.
So here’s how 60 day proof works. (Hat tip to this thesis on information scraps where I first read about this technique)
Whenever you write anything down make sure it’s 60 day proof.
- When you re-read it will you know what the note is about?
- Add more detail than you think is required
- Who was with you?
- Add the names of people you were with
- When did you make the note?
- Add the date and time
- Why did you make the note?
- What is the reason for the note? Sounds simple but can often be missing.
- What context surrounds the topic? As in why are you discussing it and what project/work does it relate to?
- Add hashtags, notes, doodles and links where relevant
- What needs to be done next?
- Are there next steps? Or was this just for reference?
With almost all of my notes I tend to add them to Evernote either directly, via email or through the app using a photo. That way I get the power search in Evernote and Evernote tagging system. If I upload the note at the same time as creating it, or create it directly in Evernote, then I also get the time stamp. (be careful about your company data privacy rules as Evernote may not be a sanctioned tool to keep your management notes)
If your note is important it’s worth the extra effort to make sure that when you revisit it, it still makes sense. 60 Day Proof is a thinking tool that can help you make notes than make sense.