Cody Bunch Some Random IT Guy - OpenStack, DevOps, Cloud, Things

Note Taking as a Professional Practice, Part 1 - Down the Rabbit Hole


One thing I have been watching over my time in IT, is the habits of those at the top of their game. At the very least, those who seem to know or do as much or more. The idea here, like watching game footage is for football players, and race footage is for drivers, by studying how others work, we might learn something useful.

This sort of thing, while being good for click through, is also interesting on a number of levels. That is, you can answer some of the “How do they find time for $x” or “How does $x know so much $y”. There are some traps here, say comparing ones own life film to someone elses highlight reel (The FOMO / Facebook depression issue), if you are careful to avoid this, and rather try a number of things out along the way to see what works for you given your environment and such, a lot can be learned.

Notes - Down The Rabbit Hole

This lead me recently down the path of note taking. That is, early on in my career, I used to take copious notes. Notes during training, notes whilst reading a thing. Notes everywhere. When Google desktop search was still alive and well, I had a plethora of unorganized text files, and would ‘google’ for solutions I had encountered before. This practice was replaced with blogs, and so on.

However, what I am striving to understand, is how, we as a trade, as a practice, use notes (or lack thereof) to enrich and enhance our understanding, recall, and so forth.

The Tentative Agenda

This will be an occasional series of posts, that will cover:

  • Should you take notes?
  • What Makes Notes Work (some cognative science behind recall)
  • Materials
    • Electronic
      • Tools
      • Techniques
      • Security
      • Forensic / Legal concern
    • Pen & Paper
      • Tools
      • Which pen / ink?
      • Paper Layouts
        • Grid
        • Dot
        • Lined
        • Combo?
      • Metadata collection
      • Forensic and legal concerns
  • Techniques
    • Mind Maps
    • Rough Notes
    • Journaling
    • Logging
    • Learning
    • Case / Incident notes
  • Non-Note recall

At least, that is the tentative outline, it will likely evolve as I get further and further down this particular rabbit hole.

Halp, pls?

Ok, so I can’t do this without you. That is, it would be rather one-sided and uninformed if I said I was writing about how we as a trade use note taking, and then not have any feedback about how we do it. Rather than put a feedback form out, that is, I don’t want my questions to guide your answers, I’d rather you reached out to me either via twitter @cody_bunch, or via email, bunchc at professionalvmware dot com. I look forward to hearing from you.