Writing and tracking stuff

Just say you go to a meeting.

You meet Steve and Rebecca from Hats’R’Us. You discuss the new reindeer hats that Hats’R’Us are making for you this year. You write a couple of lines in your notebook and notice that you’ll need to follow up a couple of questions a bit later.

Now, you’re thinking, there must be some electronic way I can manage this sort of thing. I have a lot of meetings, I have a lot of issues/people/work I need to track.

Somehow asked me about this today.

We worked out that, not only are there sales meetings, there are also conferences, tutorials, training sessions,  “coffee” and lunches that needs to be tracked.

There’s gotta be a system.


It’s a Wiki. Not just any Wiki, but one of the best in the world.

It’s hard to describe a Wiki without a demonstration, but I’ll borrow a few lines from Wikipedia:

  • Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not.
  • A wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual [users]. Instead, it seeks to involve the [user] in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the [content].

A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information.

A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated.

So, once you have Confluence installed on your computer or network, you could create a  page describing the meeting, maybe something like

Confluence screenshot

Confluence screenshot

If you look at the lower half of the screenshot, you’ll see some labels “hats”,  “future”, “strategy”, “2009-02”. At some later stage, you could find all your “strategy” notes, by clicking on the word strategy. Or you could use the label browser to find all the “strategy” pages. Or pages about “hats”, etc.

You might notice that “Steve”, “Rebecca”, and “Hats’R’Us” are underlined on the page. These are hyperlinks to pages that you could fill in at a later date.

So by using Confluence, you could track your events, your people, and you could all sorts of other meta-data about them.

You can track, file and search your journal in many different ways. So many more ways than if it was just an event in your Outlook calendar.


How to catch ephemereal thoughts

I get inspired to write in all sorts of places. Generally in places where I’m not able to take notes, but occassionally I will have a notepad with me.

Do I need a netbook to make it easier? Would I carry it everywhere? Would I be able to whip it out and get that thought transcribed before it evaporated?