If you are anything like me, you’ve spent significant time writing notes in meetings and never referring to them again. Note-taking is extremely important, but we often do not have a clear system for capturing action steps and reference items. Behance’s Action Book and Action Journal present an innovative way to know what requires action and what is a good reference.
I used the Action Book during my last corporate assignment. I have also used the smaller Action Journal for some time for book notes and speech ideas. Behance takes the Cornell note-taking method and creates a note-taking system for listing the following items.
- Action steps – These are the items for which you must perform at least one step to accomplish. These are your responsibility to complete.
- Reference items – The items supporting your action steps. These may be action steps for someone else, but you only need them to support the actions you list in your action steps.
- Backburner items – These may or may not relate to the project at hand, but they are interesting information tidbits you may want to include in a tickler file or other follow-up system.
- The Action Book/Action Journal is a great way to clearly identify your action steps. I’ve used symbols when not using this system, but the organization of my note taking improved greatly when using these items.
- Pages are perforated. I scan as many documents as I possibly can into Evernote, and the perforated pages allow me to retain a digital record of my notes. I also like the dot orientation. Lined notebooks sometimes preclude diagrams and other drawings as notes.
- The covers and paper are high-quality – I love writing on good, heavy paper. These notebooks do not disappoint.
What can be improved
- These books are not cheap – The Action Book is $15 for 50 pages, and the Action Journal is $17.50 for 250 pages. Since I do not live near a location selling these books (the closest location to me is Chicago, IL), I also must pay significant shipping charges.
- The Action Book could use more pages – This is related to point #1. Anyone attending a large number of meetings will quickly fill an Action Book.
- The Action Book is larger than a regular notebook – While I love the Action Journal’s size, the Action Book is wider than a traditional spiral-bound notebook. The notebook can be somewhat awkward to carry, and it does not fit well in a messenger bag like the one I use for my MacBook Pro.
The Overall Verdict
If you do not mind paying for quality and shipping, the Action Book and Action Journal are good buys. I really like how I can clearly identify action steps without using a symbol system or other method of tracking action steps. I also enjoy the perforated pages and the dot orientation to move away from purely writing my notes. If you have been looking for a way to organize your written notes, the Action Book and Action Journal are worth a very good look.