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The Importance of Keeping a Professional Notebook

It is important that as a leader you have a notebook that you are able to record your daily events, decisions and accomplishments. This notebook needs to look professional and needs to be an official record.

You can pay a company to make a book for you, but here is an easy and inexpensive way to make your own notebook that has a professional appearance. Choose whichever type of notebook you wish to have. I prefer to have a notebook with the binding at the top rather than in the middle. I just find it much easier to write in a notebook like this one. It really doesn’t matter what the binder looks like because you are going to personalize the notebook to you and your job position.

The first thing you do is cover the front and back of the notebook in tape. I prefer dark green or black tape, but you can use whatever color you want. Remember, you want it to look professional! Then you develop the graphics you wish to have on the cover of your book. This should have your name, your title and/or position and the company’s graphics. I usually produce these items in a PowerPoint presentation and then cut them out. Once cut out then I glue them to the cover of the notebook. I then use acetate to cover the graphics to make sure they stay on over time and use (inside and/or outside use).

Now that you have a professional looking notebook that is customized to you and your position. You need to make sure that you can use this notebook as an official record. The way I use my notebook is almost like a diary. I record meetings I have, decision I make, things I accomplish, etc.

The way you make sure your notebook can be used as an official record is simple. This is how I make sure my notebook is an official document. I write the day and date on a line. I then write everything I did, who I met with, decisions I made, accomplishments, etc on a separate line (ensuring I have a line blank between each entry). At the end of the day, I use a highlighter to draw a line. This separates each day into its own section. As long as you ensure you never go back and add things, it would be easy to see if you did, then you can always refer to this as what you did on any specific day. If you forgot something, then don’t try to add it on the day you have already completed, just add it to the next day with a note that it occurred on the previous day. If you do this, your notebook can be used to prove what occurred on each day and no one can claim it is not an official document.

(I blacked out the names of people in this example for their privacy)

I also have a few pages in the back that have some important information that I need to have at my fingertips. To save time I have put all that information in a word document. Every time I start a new book, I print the document and then cut and paste the information onto the last few pages of the book.

Over the years, keeping this type of notebook has proved very useful to me. On more than one occasion I have had to look back in books (I save all the filled books) to prove something I said to someone, or to prove I did something on a certain day. If you keep a professional notebook as I have described in this blog, I believe you will find it useful as well.

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