On notes, and why I like to write in outline format

  1. I write in outline format because:
    1. It helps to organize my thoughts, which hopefully helps others understand them.
    2. It enforces concision; I try to stick to one line per.
    3. If 1.A and 1.B are done right, it’s easier and faster to consume than a paragraph.
  2. I use numbered, not bulleted outline format, because
    1. Things are easily referenced if needed, e.g. 1.C above.
  3. Gmail : the best tool for starting a new set of notes in, because:
    1. It’s always with you
    2. It’s easily and quickly searched, including built-in timeline
    3. It takes the least number of extra steps to share, compared to other tools.
    4. Quite often, notes should be shared.
    5. It’s a tool you have to know very well anyway.
    6. It’s got nifty keyboard shortcuts, which make things faster, which is critical. While composing an email on Mac:
      1. Command + Shift + 7
      2. Command + ]
      3. Command + [
  4. I sometimes take notes, send to myself, and then just archive the email. Rare.
    1. But just the act of taking them helps me remember important points.
  5. More often, I review them before archiving them, which helps with recall and CI WTF
  6. More often than that, I refactor them and send to someone else.
  7. Talking with one or more people for more than ~15 minutes about something you’re trying to get done?
    1. Face it : you’re in a meeting.
    2. Meetings that don’t produce anything are the worst kind of wasted time.
    3. So at the very least, I try to send to the participants.
  8. Playing back conversation P0’s…is a P0.
    1. More disconnects than you’d expect are discovered.
    2. You get bigger ears, critical for happy customers.
  9. Act on them or archive them – they’re either work in progress, or DONE.
    1. Lean : minimize work in progress, stop starting and start finishing.
  10. I use a common coding best practice, standard searchable notation to highlight needed action:
    1. TODO means “this thing should have action taken on it”
    2. VERIFY means “I’m not sure I know WTF I’m talking about; do you?”
    3. P0 means “do this highest priority next, along with the other highest priorities”
    4. WTF e.g. “why the f*** would someone care enough to write notes about notes?”
      1. Minutiae : it’s not only just the small and trivial; small and precise fits the definition also.
      2. Tequila: it’s not just liquid sitting beautifully in a bottle on the shelf.  Just a reminder.

One thought on “On notes, and why I like to write in outline format

  1. a2671333@trbvm.com says:

    While I agree with the sentiment of this post, an outline should never have a single sub-item. 2A without a 2B puts A at the same “meaning” level as 2, and your post is a perfect example because 2A is literally a continuation of 2.

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