Education and Personal Development, Productivity

A commonplace book for managers

There are opportunities to learn and grow everywhere for managers. In every interaction, every meeting, every plan, every bit of feedback, from wins, from losses, from hiring, from strategy. You get it. Everywhere.

We often just need to look out for these opportunities. That’s the hard part. But once you do start noticing your world more you’ll start collecting notes, observations and insights. They’ll start arriving a rapid rate simply from observing.

One of the things that has helped me greatly is my use of a commonplace book.

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator’s particular interests – Wikipedia

In my commonplace book are snippets from the web, my own doodles and drawings, notes, meeting notes, words I don’t yet know the meaning of, technology I need to understand, theory I need to read about, blog ideas, self improvement ideas and my journal notes. My commonplace book is where I go to reflect and to learn and to cultivate myself.

Use whatever technology floats your boat – be that paper and pen or a computer. I personally use Evernote. With a capture everywhere capability and clever tagging I can quickly get access to my notes.

But then I am an Evernote Community Leader – so I am somewhat bias 🙂

A common place book is a great way to get things out of your head and in to a place for future reference. It also serves a real reminder about how much your interests change and how much you have grown as a manager.