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Editing To-Do Lists On the Go: Integrate Toodledo With Captio

Editing To-Do Lists On the Go: Integrate Toodledo With Captio

    One of the biggest problems with to-do lists is a system. How are you updating your lists and how do you keep track of them? For this problem I have found a solution, which I will share below.

    First: we all know the potential of to-do lists. We all (should) use them and we all probably know enough about GTD to use them effectively. If not, I will explain a couple of concepts quickly. After each concept there is a link you can follow to read more about it.

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    • Systems. You need a system to keep track of your to-dos. You simply can’t remember to remember what you should do and when. Therefore, there are multiple systems which can help you keep track! More on productivity systems.
    • Batching. If you want to get really productive, you should tackle your to-dos in batches. For instance, when you are out and about you should not only get your groceries, but go to the post-office as well. The same with email. Don’t respond all day to every email you get, but take care of them twice a day, all in a row. You will get in the flow and you will be able to do your tasks much faster. More on batching.
    • Prioritizing. Which is the most important task on your list? Now you need to make that your priority over the other tasks. The thing with a busy work-day is that you are distracted all day. By getting a phone-call or responding to an email you will feel busy, but you aren’t, because you didn’t have the time to actually get some work done. Read more: Mastering the Art of Prioritization

    Now that we tackled the basics of to-do systems, keep in mind how it works while I explain a system I personally use which works great for me. After that I am going to guide you step-to-step on how to set it up.

    Using Your Smartphone To Manage Your Tasks

    I currently use two simple iPhone apps to submit tasks and to keep track of them. The first is Captio – a note-taking app (and nothing more). You write down whatever you want and it will be sent to an email address. For Android users there is Jotter in the Android Market.

    The second app is Toodledo for iPhone. For Android users: there isn’t a native Android app, but the third party apps will work just as well.

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    The beautiful thing about Toodledo is that it gives you an email address where tasks can be mailed to. These emails get processed by Toodledo and will pop-up in your task list when you open up the app. What we are going to do is set up Captio with this email address, to enable yourself to send to-dos very quickly to your to-do lists.

    Of course, doing this by email is possible as well, but in the settings we put in the Toodledo email, so you don’t need to remember it.

    Now, with a couple of quick shortcuts you will have everything you need for optimum to-do list control!

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    How To Set Up The System

    Actually it is really easy. Log in at toodledo.com and navigate to this page. Copy the email address you find there and fill that in at the Captio settings. Now when you send a note from Captio it will go immediately to your to-do list.

    Now it’s gonna get fun. Why? Because you can set values within this note, which you can all find here. You can set priorities, due-dates, folders and contexts all with special syntax. A couple of examples I personally use:

    • Read Martin Luther King’s speech %read – The “read Martin Luther King speech” is the task. The %reading is the tag I gave it. Tags enable you to differentiate tasks from each other without a lot of hassle. Now when I open up Toodledo I can sort tasks by the tags and I can batch things. I use tags like %email, %checkout and %pay.
    • Pay phone bill %pay #today – Again, the tag. But now I added a due-date as well, which is today. By setting a due-date on that day you will get a reminder and it will be on the hotlist within the app, so you know you have to do something quick.
    • Call Tom for our meeting #tomorrow =4:00pm :1 hour – This is for a meeting tomorrow, at 4 pm. I need to remind Tom 1 hour ahead, because he will be late otherwise!

    If there is need for editing you can always open up the Toodledo app and edit it from within the app, the only thing Captio does is enable you to send out tasks as fast as the wind. It might seem a lot of work to set up at first, but after using it for 3 tasks you will understand the of effectiveness of this system. You only need two actions  (booting up Captio and sending the task) instead of over ten tasks from within any to-do application.

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    Now, by using this system you’ve created a bulletproof way for getting your to-do’s in place. Will this work for you? Have you created a better system yourself already? Share it in the comments!

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    Editing To-Do Lists On the Go: Integrate Toodledo With Captio

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    Last Updated on September 30, 2019

    How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

    How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

    Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

    Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

    The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

    Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

    1. Develop an Agenda

    Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

    Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

    The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

    2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

    If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

    Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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    Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

    A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

    3. Record Attendance

    On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

    Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

    All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

    If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

    As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

    It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

    4. Naming Convention

    Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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    For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

    5. What, and What Not, to Include

    Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

    Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

    For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

    6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

    Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

    You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

    Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

    7. Record Votes

    The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

    For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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    This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

    Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

    8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

    Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

    People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

    Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

    9. Proofread with Care

    Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

    Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

    10. Distribute Broadly

    Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

    At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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    Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

    11. File Meticulously

    Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

    Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

    One Caveat

    In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

    Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

    The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

    Bottom Line

    Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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