Discover the best selection of paper products from around the world!

Tag Archives: +desk-office

Top 8 : New Year, New Desk! Our Organizing Faves

8 Jan

new-year-new-desk-organizing-blog

A clean slate works well with a clean desk. Here are our favorite pieces to get organized, stay inspired, and work well in 2014. Shop all Desk & Office right here »
1. Rhodia Pencil Cup »
2. Any Refillable Quo Vadis or Exacompta Planner »
3. Moleskine Messenger Bag »
4. 2014 Cavallini Wall & Desk Calendars »
5. Exacompta Exacase Filing Tote »
6. Italian Clipiola Paper Clips »
7. Moleskine Folio Professional Folders »
8. Lamy Pens »

Grab a FREE Vintage FAF Pad Refill for a Limited Time!

2 Oct

131002-epc-SoMe-blog-FAFFor a limited time, order a Vintage FAF Pad, and receive a FREE FAF Pad Refill!
Use code FREEFAF and enjoy! Shop Exacompta Vintage FAF pads »
(Pssst… early bird gift shopping? These make wonderful gifts for #paperlovers!)

Free FAF Refill Instructions:

1.      Add an Exacompta FAF Pad – Item: pex2113 to your shopping cart

2.      Add a FAF Refill – Item: pex2213 to your shopping cart

3.      When you are ready to checkout, simply enter coupon code: FREEFAF in box #7 of the checkout page (titled Coupon Code) and hit apply.  This will instantly add a discount of $8.00 to your order

4.      Finish completing the checkout page process

Easy as 1,2,3  – You’re Finished!!!

As always, we will take care to package items carefully and ship your order promptly.  Thank You for shopping with Europeanpaper.com!

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read

4 Feb

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

The average person takes in the equivalent of more than 174 newspapers worth of data each day, and your challenge is getting someone to not only read what you wrote on your blog, but maybe, also, to remember something about it.

Once you understand how much information the average person is bombarded with in a day, you can approach your own blog’s content with wiser eyes.

Do you know what one of the best formats for a blog post is?

A list.

People like lists. They understand them. They’re easy to read and remember.

Why do you think so many lists appear in top-selling magazines? Think about Real Simple for example. The cover generally advertises at least a few articles inside giving you 14 Ways to Clean Your Kitchen, or 48 Ways to Easily De-clutter Your Bedroom, right? The research has already been done on this, so make use of this knowledge and apply it to your blog.

Here’s how:

  1. Write a few words that describe your blog. If you already have a tagline, expand on that. If you haven’t branded yourself quite yet, briefly summarize what you normally blog about. Let’s say you write about your personal life, horses and baking.
  2. Pick one of those subjects and break it out. Take your personal life. What are things you have learned in the last year? What are some mistakes you’ll never make again and why? What have you purchased this year?
  3. Take the items you are most excited about and write the titles. Using the examples in #2 you could have:
    1. “8 Things I learned in 2012”
    2. “4 Mistakes I made as a Young Adult I’ll Never Make Again”
    3. “7 Things I Bought That Made My Life Easier”

Lists are great because once you have the title, they basically write themselves. They are also accessible to more potential readers; you can snag someone with a minuscule amount of time when you present a list. And most of all, lists are easy to share. People would rather share a list of something useful with friends rather than a very long diatribe about the happenings in your life the past week.

Lists help you package a lot of pieces together in a new way, and often, they make blogging more fun, too.

If you happen to be a journaler, packing your entries into list format is not only a good writing exercise—it also helps you gain a new perspective on whatever you may be writing about. Instead of just recording the happenings of last week, what if you called your entry “10 New Things I Discovered Last Week.” Your entry immediately becomes more than just a recall of events, and becomes something richer and deeper. If you are the type that hopes to pass your journals along to your descendants, reading list entries like the example above makes for some interesting reading.

Lists can be so much more than what you need to pick up at the grocery store or things you need to get done this week. Make use of this technique in your blogging (and writing).

~~~

Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

~~~

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

How to Write: A Letter of Recommendation

A Handful of Tools & Tips To Help You Organize Your Office

26 Jan

Organize Your Office with the best of the best at EuropeanPaper.com

1) Moleskine Folio Professional Filers (Set of 3) (12 x 9.5)
2) Exacompta Exacard Wirebound Business Card Holder (8 x 6)
3) Blackwing Luxury Large Notebook & Folio Cover (7.5 x 10)
4) Exacompta Exaboard (9.25 x 13.25) (Rhodia pad included)
5) 2013 Planner Sale (with savings up to 35% off!)

Tip #1: Label EVERYTHING!

You know that feeling when you first get a label-maker and you just can’t put it down? Revitalize your office and give yourself an energy boost by picking it up again. Go through old folders that can be re-purposed, finally stick a label on that junk-box you threw together on the top shelf, and label the spines or covers of your notebooks for easy reference.

Tip #2: Start Nesting

Sounds odd, right? Nesting is basically the act of purging the things that distract you and clutter your office, while finding homes for the necessary items like your pens and pencils, folders and notebooks, and other office items. Putting things in their rightful place on a daily or weekly basis will keep your office tidy and you’ll finally remember where you put that darn business card of a friend you’ve been meaning to contact.

Tip #3: Add a Pop of Color

Whether it’s a nice, bright file folder, or the funky lamp in the corner of your office, remember to have a couple vivid hues surrounding you to brighten your mood. Try to keep all the colors cohesive though, as we’re not suggesting you work in an office decorated like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (unless you’re an avid fan). If you work inside the majority of the day, color will remind you to smile from time to time. (And don’t forget to actually pop out for a walk around the block a couple times a day – nothing is better than exercise and a bit of fresh air.)

Have a quick tip for office organization? Add it in the comments below!

The Not-So-Elusive Key to an Organized 2013

21 Jan

This time of year, every venue offers you tips to organize your life, improve your situation, save money, save time, lose weight and be happier. Most advice involves buying more, doing more, or finding time and labor-intensive ways to do more with less. Let me offer another option … LESS.

Period. Own less. Do less. Be responsible for less. Enjoy life more. 

Collectors vs. Hoarders

Organizational fanatics usually collect lots of things, but they keep everything organized, so they fool themselves it’s somehow better than hoarding. I still struggle with organizational delusions. That stopped when I started to notice how much of my life was being absorbed by organizing, maintaining, and handling all my many “things.”

Now, I’m taking action.

Baby Steps

I’m creating a better 2013 for myself by eliminating things. I’ll always write long-hand in addition to my digital creations. I will always swoon at the smell of ink and paper, run my hand over sheaves of nice stationery, and want to take every writing utensil I see for a test drive. I know this about myself, so I’m learning to work with it instead of against it.

Being a writer and a tech geek means I collect more “stuff” than most. Paper, pens, pencils, desk supplies, cords, chargers, accessories and ways to carry, store, and organize it all thrills me! It is my biggest hurdle. Once I started paying attention, I realized I always reach for the rollerball in my purse when jotting notes and I always reach for my special fountain pen when I’m at my desk. All my other handwriting implements remain untouched.

When on the road, I reach for the best no-tangle charge cord for my phone/tablet and the small, most powerful charger block – so why do I sort through the dozen or so that collect in my computer bag and purse? I always grab one tech bag … so why do I own a slew of them? Some girls have shoe collections; mine are books, writing implements and tech gadgets. I own two laptops and a desktop, but always grab the same light-weight ultrabook, even when I’m working at home.

Rather than having a dozen notebooks and journals, I’ve trimmed it back to a small stock of excellent quality composition books and a luxury leather cover to make using these workhorse notebooks a pure visual and tactile delight.

The more things I have, the less I appreciate each individual thing.

Stuff = Time

Stuff requires time: YOUR time. First you must determine what you want, then locate it, make the money to buy it, mentally justify the purchase, deal with the packaging it comes in, find a place to store it, and begin feeling a grain of guilt when it sits there unused. It’s a huge responsibility. Pretty soon, the grains pile up and you find yourself in a buried. 

Purging Toward Freedom

The best part of an elimination purge is tossing projects that have been around, unfinished, for years. I realized the things I wanted to do in my 20s no longer really fit the “me” of today. Give yourself permission to change your mind about projects, hobbies, and pursuits. I don’t feel guilty for old unfinished projects now. I tossed them out. Instant relief.

I’ve discarded books (BOOKS for goodness sake!) in my “to read” pile. If I’ve not read those stacks in the last few years, it’s probably because I really prefer the ones I actually have read. More guilt gone.

Despite my love of the printed word and actual ink on paper, I read ebooks more often, especially those I will only read once. That eliminates physical clutter and I can keep a huge library of books on a variety of topics without dusting, storing, or organizing them. My physical library has been reduced to my leather-bound classics and reference books.

I’ve had art supplies for years that I want to use, but never did because I was busy managing all the other obligations in my life (many of them the result of juggling too much stuff). I’ve sorted and pruned my art implements and now have the time to use them. It’s nice!

Take the plunge!

Life is too short to spend all your time dealing with things that don’t matter, aren’t perfect, or you don’t enjoy. If you decide to take a purging approach to your new year, let me advise you to keep only the best quality of the things you really love. If that means tossing a dozen so-so items and buying one awesome one, do it!

It’s difficult to purge, but you will love the results! I promise. I’m living proof.

~~~

Meet the Writer: Angela Allen has been creating online content for small business clients since 1999, when she had to use a painfully slow dial-up connection. Now, she specializes in real estate topics and organic content marketing for entrepreneurs on a gloriously high-speed connection. When she’s not writing for WickedWriter.com clients, she enjoys the discipline of living small in her high-tech cabin deep in the woods of Kentucky, blogging on WickedBlog, and enjoying the pure tactile titillation of going “old-school” and writing with a fountain pen on luxury paper.

~~~

How to Write: Letter of Recommendation

12 Nov

How to Write: Letter of Resignation by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a letter of recommendation is that you are writing to present new information; not to confirm information that is already available. Let’s go through some scenarios:

Recommendation Letters for Students

Many graduate-level education programs don’t highly consider recommendation letters that simply confirm information available in a student’s transcript. This means information like grades and test scores.

If your student has an A in your class, it’s best not to write something like:

“Student is very conscientious, arrives to class on time, has never missed a lesson and is 3 out of 67 students academically. He would be an excellent addition to your program.”

The above example is simply confirming what’s in the student’s transcript. One can easily tell this student is really good at being a student. But is that all they can do? Are they able to be anything else? The emphasis should be on their ability to apply their knowledge in the real world, and it should reference their enthusiasm and interest in whatever their course of study is.

Recommendation Letters for Employees & Interns

Your first step is to ask what the letter is for. Is this for another internship? If so, where? Or is this for admission into some sort of educational program? Your letter of recommendation will be more valuable if you are able to write it with an understanding of what its purpose is for.

Your letter should be concise and thorough. It’s actually OK to mention a weakness as long as you are emphasizing the positive. When mentioning a weakness like “She/he doesn’t always know when to ask for help,” be sure to end with a positive solution like “She/he doesn’t always know when to ask for help, but after we paired her/him with a senior-level manager to mentor them, we saw immense development of skills and ability. Their leadership skills grew as a result and their contribution to the team multiplied tenfold.”

A letter of recommendation for an employee is not a request to state that the employee showed up on time or did their job. It’s a request to understand more about the character and ability of the person. They want to know if this person is likely to persevere through difficulty, or give up. If they’re able to adjust to changes and adapt to new situations. If they can work with a wide range of personality types and still keep projects moving forward. They don’t want to hear that they took no sick days in 2012. They want to hear that the applicant is not only capable of working independently, but also able to ask if they’re unsure of something.

Recommendation Letters for Volunteers

A volunteer is special. They are giving up their most precious resource—time—to your cause or organization. Keeping that volunteer volunteering is vastly important. If they’re ready to move on from your organization, it’s your job to make sure they continue giving their time somewhere else. Volunteers are precious resources!

Writing letters of recommendation for volunteers should involve two things: statements about the volunteer’s character and information about your organization. Each organization or group that utilizes volunteer time is built differently. How your group is structured may not align with how another’s is. It’s important for the person reading the letters of recommendation to not only get a feel for the volunteer’s character, but also to understand the inner workings of your organization.

Recommendation Letters Are Not About You

It’s generally useful to provide a paragraph’s worth of information about yourself. How you know the person you are recommending and a little about how you interacted/worked with them. But that’s it. No need to get into specifics. The letter is about them, not about you.

How to Structure a Letter of Recommendation

Be formally concise. Your first paragraph is the statement of recommendation. Your second paragraph covers who you are and how you worked with the person being recommended. The next 1-3 paragraphs should each detail a specific example (all positive) of situations or events that clearly demonstrate certain aspects of the character of the person being recommended. Your final paragraph should serve to summarize: restate your strong recommendation on the basis of the person’s demonstrated strong character and positive attitude.

When NOT to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Simply, don’t write a recommendation letter for someone if you don’t mean it. You will waste their time and yours. If you need a way to decline writing a letter of recommendation, you can simply say that you do not have enough time to write an adequate letter.

~~~

Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

~~~

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

10 Sep

How to Write: Letter of Resignation by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/BlogResigning from something – whether it’s a job or a volunteer position with a local non-profit – is an occasion that should be given some care and attention. In most cases, your letter of resignation will be kept on file permanently and is something that could potentially resurface in the future. Here are a few essential components to any good resignation letter and a few best practices as well.

1. Formatting

Format the resignation letter formally. If you use a word processor like Microsoft Word, you can use one of the pre-installed templates. There are several that will work; one in particular is called ‘Formal Letter.’ Use a heavier, decent paper when you print it off as well to add a more professional look.

2. Keep it Simple

There is no need to detail any specifics in a resignation letter. You might want to describe a situation or take time to write something a bit lengthier – don’t. Save that for your exit interview if you wish. If there is no exit interview, perhaps offering up those additional details would be better delivered in person verbally or through a thoughtful email. Ask yourself if anything more really needs to be said.

3. Include Basic Information

Make sure your full first and last name, current mailing address, date, the name of the company or organization you are resigning from, their address and your signature (in ink) are all listed in the letter.

4. List Your Resignation Date

It’s very important that you list the date your resignation will be effective. Whether you already told your employer in person is no matter, you need to have it in writing. If your employer has requirements for giving notice (the standard is two weeks), this letter will serve as proof that you gave enough notice.

5. Be Positive

Even if you are leaving on bad terms, it’s important to not be negative in your resignation letter. Imagine if a future employer saw this letter. Would they be left with a bad taste? If you are finding it hard to be positive, at the very least thank the company or the organization for the opportunity and leave it at that.

6. Offer to Help

Offer to assist in finding a replacement or to train your replacement. It’s important to show that you are a team player and are trying to avoid leaving the company in a lurch.

7. Clarify Final Duties

It is good practice to not only list your date of resignation, but to note that you need clarification on your final duties and any other final matters before you go. This helps the company or organization know that they need to figure out what is left as well. If you’ve already discussed your final duties and responsibilities, it would be appropriate to list those out in writing in your resignation letter.

Here’s the thing about resignation letters. You never know when – or how – you’ll cross paths with your former boss or coworkers in the future. The fact is, you may never, but the world is a very small place sometimes. If you leave anything in writing, make sure it’s positive and professional.

Below is a basic example of a resignation letter (click to enlarge). What experiences (positive or negative) have you had with resignation letters?

How to Write a Resignation Letter via EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

~~~

Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

~~~

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

19 Apr

Writing thank you notes and get well soon cards are easy compared to ‘professional’ correspondence (also known as business correspondence). At least, most people would tell you this. Writing a quick thank you note to grandma is way less complex than writing to thank an interviewer for their time in interviewing you for a job you still hope to get.

Professional correspondence is different from personal correspondence in that personal correspondence refers to writing between family or friends while professional correspondence refers to writing between people who interact professionally (at least primarily). Imagine you have a colleague that works for a competitor. You both know each other and get along great and have met at a few lunch events. If you put that person on a ‘friend’ or ‘colleague’ scale, what side would weigh heavier? That is how you know where to write from; a personal zone or a professional zone.

However, written correspondence in a professional setting can be tricky. Here’s why:

  1. You may not know the person that well. For example, you don’t know if they would appreciate a more casual tone or a more formal tone.
  2. The occasion that is motivating you to write may not be a familiar one. Many of us sit through only a handful of job interviews a few times in life. Raises and promotions are also less common. What do you say in unfamiliar waters?
  3. You are writing because you know you should … and you don’t know what to say. You know you need to thank your boss for letting you leave two hours early every Friday, but what do you say beyond ‘thank you for letting me leave two hours early every Friday”?
  4. There’s pressure. You want everything to be perfect, but if you write something and it is taken the wrong way, or you spell something wrong, it’s hard not to let it gnaw at you afterward.

In professional cases, more often than not, you’ll find you need to write whether you’re looking for a job, have employment, or own a business. This means you should write after an interview; a promotion or raise; you find some potential new business and want to turn it into actual business; a client or colleague does something for you; or you gain a client or customer.

These are all examples of positive correspondence situations. Negative correspondence is another beast entirely and there are different guidelines there. An example of negative professional correspondence would be a letter of complaint.

My guidelines for positive professional correspondence:

  1. Use nice paper. No notebook paper here. You always want to make a good first impression right out of the envelope.
  2. Write as close to the ‘event’ as possible. For example, if you have a job interview in the morning on a Wednesday, your thank you note should be in the mail Thursday.
  3. Be your professional self. If you are very laid back, very relaxed, very casual and funny person, there’s no need to ‘hide’ any of that behind formal language. Be exactly who you are, but through a professional lens. For example, a colleague of mine is a complete class clown. He’s very adept at what he does for a living, too. His stationery of choice? Each beautifully engraved note card tells a classic joke. It’s his way of being himself, but professionally.
  4. It’s generally better to err on the side of more formal than casual. Imagine that you are the note’s recipient. How would you react?
  5. Better to write a little less than too much. When you write to someone you may not know very well, less is often more. Plus, the more you write, the more chance there is something can be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Finally, how does one write what needs to be written? Your best bet is to write a few drafts on notebook paper first (save your good paper for when you know exactly what you’ll be writing). And as for what to write, the simplest formula is to start by stating why you are writing, explain what that means to you, and end on a positive, upbeat note. Once you get the words right, write them out neatly and slowly on your professional stationery.

Here’s an example of a note written to thank someone for an interview, but they don’t yet have the job:

I hope this How-To was helpful. Professional correspondence might be a new area for you or an old friend; either way, please leave your own advice and any questions in the comments!

~~~

Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

~~~

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in the How to Write series. Read the other here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

 

Get Organized: Take Charge of Your To-Do Lists

15 Mar

Are you a chronic compiler of sticky notes? Is your wallet stuffed with small scraps of paper? Do scrawl-covered napkins flutter around in your car? If that sounds like you, you might just be a to-do list hoarder.

To-do lists are good. Usually. They help us remember the innumerable tasks we have to tackle for work, home, committees, kids, and more. But if managing – or finding – your to-do lists takes over actually completing the tasks, your lists aren’t helping. Unless you organize or consolidate your responsibilities into a more streamlined system, you’re not being as efficient as you could be.

Here, based on personality types, are a handful of the best ways to organize to-do lists from various aspects of your life – and the products to facilitate your newfound sense of organization.

Separatist

If you strive to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, institute a system that encourages that separation. To help you compartmentalize your various roles and responsibilities, pick up a set of Moleskine Volant notebooks. Dedicate one to work and one to life, and clearly label the two notebooks so that you’re not tempted to grab whichever is closer.

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Minimalist

Not everyone can achieve it, but if your goal is simplicity, consolidate all your to-do lists into one single notebook. The trick is to create a habit of always carrying that one notebook with you since everything will be housed together. A side spiral Rhodia will help you keep all your lists in one place. With a sturdy cover and side binding, a Rhodia can be taken in and out of your bag, tossed in your car, and lugged on an airplane and still keep your to-dos together.

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Traditionalist

Those who love the Moleskine tradition may balk at the idea of replacing their do-it-all notebook for a different system. With a simple hack, convert your Moleskine into a to-do list organizer. Use your favorite size notebook, and divide it into sections for each task area, like work, life, home, goals, and so on. Tabs can be made from almost anything. For example, fold a small sticky tab in half, write the title on the edge, and tape it into place, or cut up expired gift cards for durable tabulating.

Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Side Spiralbound Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Clairefontaine X Large Side Spiral Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Goal-Getter

For those with many goals, many tasks, and many to-dos, a large notebook is a must. The Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Spiralbound Notepad is 8.5- by 11-inches, which gives you enough space to outline all your tasks and related notes. Plus, since the pages are perforated, you can tear them out to file as needed.

Multi-Tasking Mom

For the busy mom on the go, the Exacompta Exafolio Executive will keep all your lists organized in one place. Six file compartments accompany a notebook, which allows you to keep like items – errands, grocery lists, kid-related to-dos, and so on – together.

Whichever product you choose to manage your to-do lists, the ACME Sing Sing 4-Function Pen is the perfect complement to keep your organization streamlined. Instead of cramming multiple implements in your bag or notebook, this one piece has a stylus for your PDA, a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter for convenient note-jotting.

Whatever your personality, there’s a product that can help you organize that never-ending flow of to-dos. Now, if only there was a product to complete those to-dos for you!

~~~

 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

~~~

 

How to Take the Most Efficient (& Effective) Meeting Notes

19 Jan

Meetings take up a huge amount of our work schedules. While it sometimes seems like meetings are held only for the sake of meetings, the reality is that meetings are meant to keep projects on track. However, if the meeting participants aren’t capturing the salient points and important tasks during the meeting, all that time is wasted. Meetings are only as valuable as the action that comes out of them. To make sure you’re maximizing meeting time, focus on developing an effective note-taking system. Bonus: Taking notes keeps you from zoning out during long sessions.

To begin, choose a notebook that encourages clean note taking. A large, ruled, spiral-bound book like the Rhodia Meeting Book allows for the most efficient note taking. Plus, the pages are easy to tear out in case an unprepared colleague needs a sheet for his own notes.

How to Take Effective & Efficient Notes by Maggie Marton for EuropeanPaper.com

Click the image to shop notebooks on EPC.

It’s important to develop a consistent note-taking system that works for you. You don’t have to use an “official” method like, for instance, Cornell Notes, but it’s worth experimenting with different styles. Regardless, there are several steps you should take to make your meeting notes effective and efficient.

First, always notate the meeting specifics. Jot the date, start and end times, and attendees at the top of your page. This is especially important for a big project where questions can arise about who is responsible for – or who dropped the ball on – specific tasks.

Next, remember that it isn’t necessary to write down everything said during the meeting. Capture the significant points of each discussion and any supporting details. If tasks are delegated – especially to you! – capture the assignment, the due date, and the names of anyone else involved. Be sure that these tasks stand out on your page by marking them with a box or star or highlighting that line.

To speed up your note taking, abbreviate! Abbreviations are only useful if you remember what they actually mean, so until you’re accustomed to abbreviating your meeting notes, create a list of abbreviations you plan to use frequently. Here are a few common abbreviations to get your list started:

  • re = regarding
  • w/o = without
  • incl = including

Finally, the real test of effectiveness is what you do with your notes after the meeting. Meetings aren’t productive by themselves; the productivity comes from the action taken after the meeting. Meeting notes should be processed as soon as possible after the meeting so that crucial information isn’t lost. Type your notes and file them with the handwritten copy. Transfer all project timelines and tasks to your day planner. Enter any follow-up meetings into your planner or send out meeting requests for check-ins immediately after in order to keep everyone on schedule.

~~~

 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

~~~