Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 4th Quarter Comeback. It has been so amazing to see the idea gain some traction and that so many of you feel the same way. I guess I'm not the only who wants to rough up 2011 before it's over.
In my comeback, General Conference plays a key role. I plan on using what comes out of Conference to help direct me in choosing which things to tackle. Today I am going to let you take advantage of my years of wisdom. Why? Because I care about each and every one of you. Not just EACH one of you. EVERY one of you.
Here's the deal: I do not understand, nor believe, that we can maximize the impact of Conference in our lives if we do not take notes. So there. Wait. I'm going to go back and bold that.
I have spent Conference taking notes, not taking notes, sleeping, driving, going to soccer games, etc. - even going on vacations (oh, the shame!), but it wasn't until about nine years ago that I finally grasped the importance Conference and note taking. This was solidified when I was bishop. Here's why:
Some of the most important things you can learn in Conference are not in the talks and will not show up in the Ensign next month because they were never spoken. (Gonna bold that too.) If we watch conference carefully, the Spirit will share all sorts of wonderful insights with us because we are focused and open. Personal scripture. Many times I have gone back to find some particular passage in a Conference address, only to find it wasn't ever said. But...if we don't write these things down, they can slip away - like when you wake up with a dream you are trying to hold onto. And for me, I think the Spirit has more respect for me when I actually dedicate my time to watching live. DVR works, but not as well.
So, I'm here to help. I am going to show you how I take notes in Conference. There are probably systems that work better, but I don't care because I like mine. It works.
First you need a notebook or a journal. (See picture above) Not the back of a tithing receipt, or a napkin. You need something that can stand up to orange Cheeto marks and soda spills. (What? You don't have snacks during Conference?) The notebook, journal, diary etc. needs to still be around for the next six months, or longer.
This is a random page out of my notebook from last Conference. (Yes, the handwriting is terrible. When I do my personal history, I'm going to need a pharmacist to help me.)
Important note: Don't try and write down everything everyone says. That is what LDS.org is for. Write down things that you find important - most importantly, write down the things the Spirit is telling you as you listen. Btw - the things the Spirit might be talking about might not have anything to do with the topic of the talk.
See the little symbols down the margin? This is where my notebook becomes extra helpful. Each symbol has a different job.
The "!" is where I got an idea, or a prompting. Might be about me, my family, my calling, my job, how to fix the lawnmower. It is whatever idea pops into my head. Write it down.
The circles are effectively my Conference "To-Do List". Talk to "X" about "Y". Read "Z". Go do this or that. Again - it is Spirit-driven. Sundays are a good time to go back and review them. Sometimes there are a lot, so I move them to my planner.
The star is a mark to remind me to go back and get further information - find a quote that was used, look up a story referenced, or something that I want to make sure I re-read when the talks are posted online.
Yes. I know it is incredibly complicated. (I suggested that they teach it at BYU as Religion 421, but never heard back.) That's what I do. It might not be your cup o' decaf tea, but it works for me. If you have never taken notes, you will stand all amazed at how much better conference can be. (Did you see how I worked in a hymn title there?)
Also, kids with notebooks equals quieter kids, and eventually adults with notebooks.
Have a great weekend.