I can remember hearing many years ago a man predict that the piles of papers we are accustomed to would disappear and be replaced by electronics. I have to wonder how that prognosticator feels now. Yes, our electronic capabilities have dramatically increased, but so has our use of paper for note taking and other documentation. I’m not sure why that is the case, but I do know that maintaining a clear and complete paper trail is essential to any well operated system.
Therefore, today I will talk briefly about file notes. File notes are written documentation used to provide long-term documentation of a business activity. These notes can include meeting minutes, a summary of a conversation or phone call, a description of an observation, or documentation of an important decision.
Nobody can remember everything, and I guarantee that as you get older you will be able to remember less and less. These file notes will help you remember the important things that happened or need to be done at your facility. You should also realize that you aren’t the only one that may need these records. Be certain that the file notes are complete and accurate so somebody not involved in the activity can find them useful as well.
Things that should be included in a file note are the date of a conversation or meeting, the details of the individuals involved in the meeting or conversation, and key discussion points that were brought up during the meeting or conversation. The note should also include the instructions, advice, approvals, decisions, and recommendations made during the meeting or conversation. File notes are also a valuable asset to have in the event that a disagreement, possible disciplinary action, lawsuit, or catastrophe occurs.
So while your cell phones and laptops may be helpful organizational tools, be sure to also keep an old fashioned ink pen close to you and make it a habit of keeping good notes. If you do, you will find that the notebook or daily log that you carry in your pocket may become one of the most important tools you have!