My schedule is normally packed like a dishwasher after Thanksgiving dinner, and much of my time is spent in meetings. Important meetings. I do not accept meetings that have no agenda, meetings where I cannot bring value or meetings with unclear value.
When I am in a conference room, I take old fashioned notes using pen and paper. Notes are important to me, and I do not use any cheap old paper. Maybe I am a bit of a paper snob. As such, I like to useÂ Moleskines, an Italian brand of quality notebooks with a cult-like following in North America. I love the feel, the quality of the paper, and the durable bindings. I like my notes to last because I go back to them often; sometimes years later. I also periodically scan and archive my notebooks intoÂ EvernoteÂ for easy access from any device. Â Despite the electronic copy, I like to collect and use sturdy and durable originals.
I should mention: my notes are 10% words and 90% doodles. Sometimes 100% doodles, depending on the topic and my mood. To me, doodling is an important part of taking notes.
I doodle directly from my subconscious; my conscious has little to do with it. Doodling helps me to stay in the moment and focused on the topic discussed in the room. It quiets the barrage of distracting information flooding my visual cortex. Like a playful and dumb dog, my subconscious tends to run after visual sticks thrown around. Thankfully, pen and paper are the greatest stick of all. Better than a squirrel, more satisfying than a bone, juicier than dinner leftovers.
During meetings, I doodle to convert ideas into pictures,Â to render a visual memory of the content, and to capture the mood. I doodle to decorate my words andÂ to fill the page with landmarks I can use later to find my entries. Once I imprinted a doodle next to my illegible handwriting, I can riffle through the pages of the notebook and retrieve the entry with ease. Days, weeks, months and even years later.
Doodling during meetings encodes the intellectual content of a discussion. The drawings are the result of transforming concepts into abstract visualizations. Transferring internal visual chatter to marks on paper centers me; it keeps the right side of my brain busy, balancing and grounding me.
A few examples from my blog: