Years ago, I was a caterer. We did a wide range of events, from crab feasts to wedding receptions, all in the same weekends. I had to learn to be very organized so I didn't show up with crab mallets at the wedding, or monogrammed napkins at the crab feast. I couldn't carry all of my client files with me, so I devised a notebook system involving coloured pens. Here's the system:
- I start a conversation with you about a project we're working on. I grab a pen and make notes. If you're the first conversation of the day, the date goes on the top line.
- Then my boss comes in and we talk about a proposal I am writing. Again, I grab a pen and make some notes, but on the next page.
- The phone rings and someone wants to make a gift of stock. I grab a pen, and make notes about what his intentions are.
- I look through the to-do list that I made on Monday and begin adding notes in a different colour than the original one.
- The notebook must be lined and be able to lay flat. If it has a ribbon book-mark, all the better. I get these great-looking brocade-covered notebooks from Pearl River in NYC. They're about $4.00 each and make nice hostess gifts.
I am the type of person who retains information by writing it down, so this system works really well for me. I also like having a list so I can cross things off it and have a sense of accomplishment. In fund-raising, which I've been doing for ages, I have to juggle many projects so this is another way of being organized. I don't have specific colours for specific people, I just grab a pen from my little urn of pens and start writing.