Writing is About Paying Attention

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Lately I’ve been working to be consistent on a couple writing initiatives that are helping me be more engaged in both life and work.

Gratitude Journal

After reading this post titled, Great Remote Employees Do These 5 Things by Erica Marois, I decided to start a daily gratitude journal, listing a few things I’m grateful for both in the morning and the evening. I’m not sure I’ve written anything terribly profound — things like a good yoga class, the cool fall weather, a great meal, or something cool or funny that one of my kids did that day.

Meeting Notes

I’ve always been a bit inconsistent in taking notes in meetings. Sure, I’ll write things down if there’s an action item in it for me. But as far as writing notes that could serve as minutes, should I need to recall them in the future, I haven’t consistently done that. So I’ve started a master Google Doc that serves as my running list of meeting notes and so far I love it.

Perhaps it’s now that I’m working remotely but I’ve found the temptation to multitask during meetings using my second monitor to be strong. When I’m sitting in a meeting multitasking other work, I’m not actually engaged in the meeting at all. And what’s the point of joining a meeting if no one is actually engaged in the meeting?

What do these things have in common?

The common thread here is pretty simple. I’ve found that taking notes means that I’m engaged and paying attention. With the gratitude journal, it’s so easy to default to a negative outlook on life and this is a challenge to pay attention to all of the reasons I have to be grateful in life. Does it make life all sunshine and rainbows? Not really. It’s more like a daily scratching and clawing to be mindful of the good in my life.

With meeting notes, while important, the main function isn’t necessarily easy recall — though it might be for anyone who works with someone who says one thing and does another. For me I’ve found that if I’m actively writing notes during meetings I’m taking the time to listen and process what I’m hearing. Perhaps some folks can pull it off, but if I’m multitasking during a meeting, I’m focused on other tasks, not the meeting.

What about customer service?

As I conclude, this is nothing revolutionary but I wanted to share what I’m currently working on to be a bit more mindful, engaged, and grateful in life.

For those interacting with customers on a regular basis you may find that taking similar notes makes it easier to stay engaged during customer interactions, avoiding the inconvenience of asking them to unnecessarily repeat information. That’s better for you and your customers.

Have you adopted these or similar practices? Leave a comment below and share what works for you.

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