Efficient output of notes: The Notes I wrote can be quickly copied into presentations, reports and emails

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In the ” Bulletproof Notes Method “, I mentioned that notes should be written with a task structure. This is not only useful for time management and improving execution efficiency, but also because such a note structure can often help us output faster .

For example, in work, it is often necessary to output work results, progress, and plans into “briefings” and “reports”. Let us think about it, what steps are needed to make a task report? The general steps are as follows:

  • 1. Need to collect previous relevant information
  • 2. Need to rearrange into reporting structure
  • 3. Need to recall thoughts, experiences, problems
  • 4. It is necessary to summarize the task process, planning focus, and solutions
  • 5. Need to modify the layout of reports and presentations

If, when we are in the middle of a certain task, we suddenly receive a request to make a report, and at this time we need to start all the above 5 steps, even if each step only takes 30 minutes to complete. An hour can also turn into half a day to a day to complete the report .

At this time, when the request for the report is very urgent, or there are many important tasks at hand, it is often impossible to complete it quickly, or you have to work overtime, which will also disrupt the working time and order.

However, if you think about it carefully, there are actually several big problems here:

  • Why do we still need to collect relevant information on the previous mission execution process?
  • Why do we need to organize the reporting structure again when we are clearly doing this task?
  • Why don’t we have ideas, experiences, and problems that we can use immediately?
  • Why are you already performing this task, but you still need to summarize the task process, planning priorities, and solutions when you make a report?

We should have done these four steps in the process of carrying out the task, but if we have to “do it again” when we are going to make a report, complete a briefing, or send an email document, isn’t it? Big waste of time?

Therefore, if our usual habit of writing notes can help us to naturally establish the materials and structure of the first four steps during the process of performing tasks, then perhaps when doing task reports, briefings, and emails, we only need to do the last One step: “modify the layout” .

In this way, we may only need 30 to 60 minutes to deal with these temporary reports, briefings, emails, and document requests, so that it will relatively not interfere with other important tasks we are doing. It will not be compressed into too much working time.

In the workplace, we execute a project, a task, an administrative procedure, or even research a certain market, plan a certain activity, and design a certain product. The basic structure behind it is nothing more than a task format:

“What is the goal? What problem is to be solved? How to design the result of solving the problem? How to implement the step-by-step process? What results are obtained? How to improve?”

And when we want to make a task report, briefing, or send a work email to an important customer, think carefully, isn’t it the same structure? Although there will be some changes, the basic structure is nothing more than: “What is the goal? What problem to solve? How to design the result of solving the problem? How to implement the step-by-step process? What results are obtained? How to improve?”

For example, if I want to write a product recommendation letter to a customer , should I describe the purpose of the product (goal), analyze the characteristics of the product (solve the problem), and explain the product specification (results and results) in the letter? The information that I should have had in the process of carrying out the task should only need to be copied and pasted.

For example, if I want to report the results of a project , isn’t it the content of the previous task format? Or sometimes I want to report on the marketing plan, which is the results of a certain stage in the task format and its execution process, even including the results and improvement plans, but this is actually what should have been produced during the process of our task execution, isn’t it? ?

But if we often spend a lot of time re-finding information, confirming the structure, and analyzing the key points when we are doing briefings, reports, and writing emails, what happened?

The key is that in the process of executing tasks and projects, we only focus on completing the actions in front of us, but we do not think about the structure of the entire project at the same time. In the process of processing tasks and project materials, we just want to finish the things in front of us quickly, but we don’t think about how to modify the structure of the entire project .

When we are only processing actions and data, and when we really want to “output”, we have to rearrange these things we have already done:

  • Dispose of the data in front of me, but ignore the relationship between the data and the project task. At present, there is no synchronous correction and update back to the project task, and it will take more time to correct and update afterwards.
  • I replied to the file in front of me and completed the action in front of me, but it was just scattered emails, instant message replies, and scattered to-do lists, but I did not gradually accumulate a unified and focused project structure, so I have to Spend more time rearranging the architecture.
  • The current matter is dealt with, but the experience, ideas, and problems in the process are gradually forgotten as the process is completed, and become the content to be recalled and collected when the report needs to be output.

The purpose of work is actually to complete the task, why not use the format of the task to organize our materials, actions and notes from the very beginning?

Therefore, the ” Bulletproof Notes Method ” emphasizes giving priority to the format of task notes, so that data, actions, experiences, ideas, etc., are structured in a task format from the beginning, and the structure is revised as it is executed. When it is time to output, it can be easier. Reproduce (copy and paste) notes into presentation, email, report formats.

And we just need to do the final layout touches.

For example, I recently encountered a real case. In the midst of busy work, my boss suddenly asked me to write a “report” on a certain business plan for next year, analyzing the market, audience, content focus, marketing plan, etc. of a certain product next year. .

I started discussing this product with my collaborators in February this year. We held several meetings, conducted some market research and experiments, and even produced some scattered content first.

If it is an ordinary workflow, these meeting discussions, market research, output experiments, etc., may be scattered in many different places, and many ideas and experiences that have not been practiced in the process are more likely to be scattered in channels that are difficult to retrieve .

But my habit of performing tasks is to create a task-formatted note at the beginning, and to confirm the goals, problems, results, steps, experience and ideas through the task notes while doing it, and what I write is not a journal note, but It is a note in task format.

So when I opened the task notes for this product, I found that my notes had already prepared the information, structure, and key points needed for the “report”.

This is the result of my notes accumulated from February to November, but this result allows me to copy it to the report in less than 30 minutes, and make a slight modification to hand it over.

In my work process, I often encounter such examples. Sometimes the customer asks me for a marketing report temporarily, sometimes the customer asks me about the progress and plan, and sometimes the meeting needs a briefing, but if we Start by writing your notes in task format, at which point most content can be copied and pasted directly. Even if the other party wants to, they can directly collaborate and view my notes.

It is not difficult to achieve such efficiency improvement so that we can more easily meet the temporary needs of reports, briefings, emails, and documents at any time. The key lies in:

  • When the task starts, create a note of the task output structure , not a journal note or a to-do list.
  • Use the task structure to link the continuously generated data and files to the task notes.
  • Record the actions, ideas, experiences, and problems during the execution process, but also conform to the task structure.
  • While executing, adjust the task structure of the task note.

These steps have brought many good results: it will help us to perform this task better and more efficiently, and it can also help us track progress, quickly find information, and temporarily need output. Our task notes are ready to be output to content of briefings and reports .

We must not be in a state of “zero” preparation when it is time to output, and even have to go back to the data, experience, and ideas we have processed, which will be more effective with half the effort. (Extended reading: Don’t wait until you have time to “start from scratch”, how can I reduce overtime hours? )

In my latest online course ” Personal Digital Productivity ” (for “limited time” use the old reader discount code ESOR500 to get the lowest discount) , I hope to use 31 productivity modules to help you solve these productivity problems, and use real Cases, providing specific and feasible steps.

My email is  [email protected]  , if you have any questions about note-taking, time management, and improving work efficiency, please write to me to discuss. Or subscribe to ” Computer Toys Newsletter “

I also set up a podcast program, welcome to subscribe and follow: ” Efficient Life Business School ” ( Apple podcast subscription ,  Google Podcast subscription ).

Daniel J. Brown

Daniel J. Brown (Editor-in-Chief) is a recently retired data analyst who gets a kick out of reading and writing the news. He enjoys good music, great food, and sports, with a slant towards Southern college football, basketball and professional baseball.

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