Learn How to Organize Work Notes. Start by Eliminating Scraps of Paper.

There's a good argument to be made for learning how to organize work notes. It is efficiency. 

The greatest argument for having - and diligently using - an online calendar, notes, or even an old fashioned notebook, is looking at a desk and wall that are covered with notes on scraps of paper.


In most of real life, organization is critical to greater effectiveness, and those who are organized come across as more professional and effective than those who are not.

Most people lose information because it is buried under more information that they have now stuck ‘somewhere’ so they would remember it. Do they? Most times not.

Get yourself a memo book, electronic recorder or day-planner and put everything in it. Carry it with you. Take it in your vehicle. Make it small enough to travel to meetings. Then you know exactly where to find the note you wrote.

"Don't waste time ranting about the 'so-called paperless office'. We all know this one was a bit of a con. I won't rant on here, so neither should you. Get on with your tidying."  

Judi James, More Time, Less Stress

Five Days of Coaching on How to Organize Work Notes


Be honest: can you immediately retrieve any notes you have written? If not, why not? Today take the time to imagine working without scraps of paper and or computerized bits that are easily lost. Imagine being able to put your hands on the information you want, when you want it.

The Coach asks:

  • Take some time to gather all the scraps of paper or sticky notes on which you have put some snippet of information. Lay them in front of you. How well does this system of organization work for you? Examine the notes. What do you notice? Any tendencies you have that can be discerned? 
  • Now take a look at your organizing system for computer files, and notes, calendars and to-do lists. How is it serving you? Can you find what you want quickly? 
  • Imagine working without notes on scraps of paper all around you. Imagine being organized to the extent that you could easily find what you want, and know what needs to be happening. 
  • What has led to this? What would you like to be different? What are you willing to do? 


If you have an electronic organizer of some sort, start fully using it today. Cold turkey, just start. If you don't really need the technology, get yourself a notebook into which you can put anything written. Get it out of your head and into an organized system. No more scraps.

The Coach asks:

  • What most serves your personal style, paper or electronic? Do you perhaps like the tactile feel and look of a notebook or to-do list right there in front of you? Or do you feel entirely at ease with using your phone or tablet?
  • Start. Find that ONE place to keep your notes. Honestly, it doesn't matter if it is paper based or electronic. Just get that one place to go to find a piece of information that you wanted to remember. 
  • How much has your current "system" been influenced by someone saying you "should" use such and such a method or platform? How much time have you given to creating and refining your own well-working system of capturing those bits and pieces of information you want to refer back to? There IS a best way to organize notes, and it is your way, if it works brilliantly for you. Find that way.


Create a system for arranging notes. Put in each days date. Carry a special notebook for very specific entries if needed. Or go electronic doing the same. Use different sections for different topics. Think about what would work for you. Don't try to be fancy. Just be practical and create what serves your purposes.

The Coach asks:

  • What kind of information do you tend to put on scraps of paper (or wherever you put it?) Contact information, dates, someone's name and what they want, a drawing of something, ideas, a note about where you left off, passwords, a to-do, some information to pass along, a new meeting time, a recommendation for some service ... etc etc etc?
  • Think about each tidbit of information. Where could it go, right now, if you took the few seconds or minute required to do it? Imagine that.
  • Don't try overthink this. Just start and create something. You can always refine it. 
  • How practical is your new system? How is it working for you? How did you respond to clearing your desk of all those notes? What's next?


See yourself as a well organized leader. Have an attitude of order. Learn how to organize work notes. Picture yourself addressing situations more effectively because you know where to find what you need. Actions come from attitudes. Change your attitude. Combine that with your new system and you are well on your way to greater effectiveness.

The Coach asks:

  • Attitude is everything. Today is a day of thinking about and beginning the shift in your attitude if that is needed. What is your attitude toward seriously learning how to organize work notes ... and all other required work files?
  • Picture yourself being more effective because you can access the information you need easily. In what ways does that influence how you think about yourself as a leader? 
  • Take a sheet of paper and in two columns note the "Shift From," and "Shift To," that you making. 
  • How will your presence as a leader be affected today by your new approach and attitude? 


Pass this strategy on to your staff. No more valuable information on bits and pieces of paper lying lost somewhere. It gets put in the right place immediately.

The Coach asks:

  • What amount of time do you think could be less efficient because staff aren't organized in this simple way? What gains could be made through getting more organized? 
  • If you want to pass something along to your staff, where will you start? What's doable? How will you encourage uptake? 
  • Before you leave, how intentional are you in processing and acting on this practice?

Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders


As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.

  • 1 Cor 14:33  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
  • 1 Cor 14:40  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
  • Eph 2:10  Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  • Pr 30:25  Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.
  • Hab 2:2  Then the Lord replied; "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it."

If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.

If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation. 

Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain. 


Get organized. You won't be losing vital information. You won't be stuck trying to remember that good idea you had, where the phone number is etc etc. 

Scraps of paper might be okay for a few days. Maybe even a little longer. BUT .. it will catch up with you and you're going to lose information you don't want to lose. 

Learn how to organize work notes. Learn how to organize any information that might be important to you. If you can lay your hands on it quickly, you'll be a lot happier you took the time to organize.

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