How to Take Notes for Work

Taking notes for work is not the same as taking notes for personal or academic use. Just think about the ideal scenario at the end of a meeting. Every single person should understand the main takeaways and the specific next steps actions.

Let's talk about my note-taking technique I developed specifically for work!


Watch it in action

At work, I use three different note-taking templates based on the specific situation I’m in.

First - Meeting notes for myself

This page is split in three different sections.

  1. Key Links: where hyperlinks to folders and documents I’m currently working one. This section should be updated as new projects are launched and completed ones are archived.
  2. Top-of-mind: I’m usually working on four to five different workstreams at once and this allows me to prioritize my actions itens in the short to mid-term. The outstanding questions prompt is where I note down a question to identify something I need to figure it out before I can take the next step.
  3. Notes template: this last section I just copy and paste everytime I start taking a new note.
Pro tip: If you see the numbering is a little weird between topics, just right click - restart numbering and press Ok to fixe this.

Onto I actually take the notes:

In this example I make sure to have the date, the topic and the person I’m meeting before the actual meeting. I would list also the objective of this meeting with some questions that I want to ask in the meeting as prompts to myself.

During the meeting I will just type out all notes as simple bullet points format.

After the meeting I spend five minutes to summarize my notes in the Key Takeaways section, so I can quickly review the highlights down the line. Usually I send this main takeaways in a follow-up email to whoever I was meeting with.

Second - Team meeting notes, where only one team is involved

Here I use sheets instead of docs, because there are multiple contributors (owners) to the meeting notes and there are different responsible persons to the taking notes part every meeting.

For example: For this May 3rd meeting, Tim wants to debrief everyone on Apple’s spring loaded Event and Warren wants to share his investment strategy.

As this two are in different rows is very clear that these are two separate topics.

Think like this: Who is gonna share what, the estimated time they’re gonna take and any links to external documents or websites.

Third - Cross-functional team meetings, where are multiple teams

In this case three different teams separately have meetings, however, there’s a lot of synergy among the teams. That’s why it’s important to let each team see what is going on with the other teams when we are taking the notes.

I highly recommend going through my Increase Your Productivity at Work playlist!