Write it down, yo.

One of the reasons that I’ve come back to writing a blog is to use it as a tool capture what I read, observe, and hear about the work I do.  It ain’t easy, as you may gather by the 6 week gap between my first and second posts.

I’ve always been told that I should have been a writer.  I’m so glad I’m not and I tip my hat to those who are, because the discipline it takes for me to bang out even a lighthearted post isn’t easy to muster.  Having just written that sentence, I have the impulse to make a cup of tea and text my Mom.  And there we have it.

But….  I see the lack of written word in my work as a problem.  In the last ten years, the number of people I see with notebooks on their person in the office has declined dramatically.  We don’t write down what others say to us.  We don’t write down our ideas.  Hell, a lot of folks I work with don’t even write down their to do lists.

Why the change? In the first world of smart devices, productivity apps, a zillion free resources dedicated to helping us maximize our proficiency as human beings – why the chaos? I pose three explanations:

1.  Writing stuff down is a skill that we have let tarnish.  Like cardio fitness, it doesn’t stay with us if we don’t work it out.

2.  We aren’t reflective as a culture of professionals.  Creating something new is nearly always seen as preferable to re-purposing something already in existence.  This mentality extends to hiring, marketing, and nearly every other aspect of our work lives.  The tendency is exacerbated by our lack of documented content to refer back to.

3.  We aren’t reading, anyway.  Emails are shorter and more frequently ignored.  Meetings are longer.  Communication in the office is becoming increasingly informal.  This isn’t all bad by a long stretch.  But how is the great, impromptu, brainstorming session being captured? Who is going back to harvest the seeds of brilliance from the tet-a-tet that just happened in the hallway? When an amazing idea is exchanged over IM and the window is closed, what happens to it?

I’m sure in the course of writing this blog, I’ll talk about the tools I use to stay organized and to help my clients do the same.  But today, my Wunderlist said it was time to finally man up and write something down.  Here it is.  Check.

Write it down, yo.