Shared Notes

Ways of Working

Note-taking is known to improve writing skills, subject matter comprehension, and recall of core concepts.

Note-taking is beneficial when we read.

Note-taking is beneficial when we listen.

Note-taking is beneficial when we think.

While working in a group setting, it is key to take your own notes. It doesn't matter if the presenter will be sharing their deck or if there is a designated note-taker. We all process information differently. Thoughts are constantly racing through our heads. If we don't capture them, they are lost.

Shared notes is a recent initiative to build more of a culture around writing and note-taking at Barrel.

We centralize shared notes in Notion. We have a dashboard for the agency and every discipline. Each dashboard includes resources, references, and shared notes. Shared notes are written collaboratively or autonomously. Anyone can contribute through edits or comments.

Initially, shared notes was an effort among the partners to promote deeper thinking, share ideas, and make our "in-person" (aka Zoom) interactions more productive.

After moving the team to Notion, we started experimenting with shared notes beyond the partners. It has been just over a month and has already proven to be invaluable.

Here are some of the benefits we've experienced so far:

  • Aligning teams: When there is a single source of truth for an idea, it is much easier to get everyone on the same page.
  • Looking back on our decisions: Conversations no longer get lost in the abyss. Shared notes make it easy to reflect on past conversations and better understand how they've informed our current position.
  • Making ideas accessible: It can be hard to find the right time to share ideas that aren't a high priority. Shared notes are a valuable channel for sharing ideas asynchronously. They also help make ideas more accessible to the larger team.
  • Cutting through the noise: The challenge with chat tools like Slack is how quickly ideas can get lost as a conversation unfolds. Shared notes create a space to unpack topics easy future reference.
  • Creating space for deeper thinking: Shared notes have been helpful in our efforts to reduce the number of meetings. It's amazing how often a shared note can replace a meeting. If not, they provide a place to share information for pre-review, making discussions more productive.

If you're interested in giving shared notes a try, I've created a Notion template here to get started. Enjoy.

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