How to Become More Efficient

Would you like to know of a simple device that will allow you to become more efficient? By "become more efficient" we mean this will allow you to improve your memory, improve your time management skills, improve your listening skills and allow you to think more accurately.

What is this remarkable device? A pad and pencil.

Take note

One of the things that separates mankind from other animals is written language. Most animals have some form of language; for example, whales and dolphins are known to have a complex language. Chimpanzees and gorillas can be taught sign-language and will converse with humans on a level comparable to a two year old child. But no other animal can write. Written language is the Mark of Man and written language is what separates Modern Man from Primitive Man. If you cannot read and write in today's world, then you are at a serious disadvantage. So why not use your ability to record things in writing, to your best advantage? All good engineers carry a note book and pen in their pockets. Why do you think that is? All Police officers are required to carry a notebook and pen in their pockets. Why do you think that is? Artists, writers and composers too, all carry note books and pencils with them. Why do you think that is? Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were all known to have in their pockets, a note book. (Leonardo's notes books are now priceless items in their own right. The Queen has one of them in her private collection.) They carried notebooks to record their ideas, thoughts, impressions, questions, problems, solutions, and intuitions. Psychoanalysts have a notebook by their bedside. Why? To write down the ideas that their subconscious mind throws them at 3 am in the morning.

Make lists

Everyone would benefit if they were to keep an on-going to-do list. Keep a running track of all the things that need to be done.

Tick them off.

Work the plan.

If you don't make lists, you won't remember to do some of the important things.

If you don't make lists, you will forget to take certain items that you will need.

Write notes

As you have your conversations with people, take notes of what was said. Take written notes of what was agreed. Who is agreeing to do what?

And if you really want to do something special, ask the other person to read your notes, agree they are an accurate record of the conversation, and sign the sheet to that effect. (Police detectives all do that at the end of taking an interview, and it can be a very useful thing to do if you are in an important business interview.) At work, when listening to others, take analytical written notes.

If someone has come to you with a personal problem, don't just listen with a sympathetic ear; instead, help them by doing a careful analysis of the situation by mapping out, on paper, in the form of a diagram,

·         the current situation,

·         its three of four major causes,

·         its three or four possible implications and

·         all the possible solutions.

Once you have the problems, causes, implications and solutions mapped out in writing, you will find it a lot easier to discover what you should do about it. Without a written analysis, the conversation will often go nowhere.

People don't need sympathy. They need answers. Taking written notes will help you to formulate answers.

Take note of your ideas

You sometimes get great ideas that flash across your mind. They come, and then they're gone. You forget your great, inspirational idea, the one that could revolutionise the world, and you kick yourself. If only you had had your note book, you could have recorded the insight, whilst it was still fresh in your mind. But sadly, you didn't have a pen and paper handy.

What is the moral of the story? Carry a notebook and pen.

Make a note to buy a small pocket notebook and pen, and make daily use of it.

In that way, you will improve your memory, improve your time management, improve your listening skills and by writing down and analysing problems - their causes, implications and their solutions - it will allow you to think more accurately. This would be good.