This week's question comes from one of our Matriarchs, Sharon, who blogs at Tidings of Comfort and Joy. She writes:
I am beginning a new call with a congregation soon, and I want to figure out how to keep records of the content of appointments, meetings, phone calls, and other interactions. I know how to keep track of information regarding appointment times (phone), member records (church office computer), official actions of regular meetings (meeting minutes), and the like. What I want to know is how to keep a record of what happens in a day -- for example -- when the church leader came to talk about church things and a family crisis, I met with my mentor, took three phone calls, made two pastoral visits, and got chewed out by the custodian. Three months later, or three years, any of those might have developed into something with a history that I wish I could remember and, sometimes, take further action on. Does anyone else try to keep track of things like this? If so, how?
Sharon, congratulations and blessings on your new call!
The Vicar of Hogsmeade offers our first answer this week:
I haven't tracked my hours in years so all I have is an "old school" answer with a name brand answer.
I used Daytimer one-page per day. I used the monthly view calendar in the back to schedule appointments and used the additional calendar supplements as necessary. For each day, on the daily page I tracked what happened during the day with notes including names and phone numbers or addresses. If I needed more room, the notes referred me to the place where I could find the details, i.e., verbatim filed in Learning Covenant file year 2 or see mileage report. I then kept those calendars as if they were journals. (NOT in the church pastor's office to which half the church had a key!)
I'm sure there's a way to do something similar with newer technology. I just don't currently keep those kind of detailed notes. You might try Google calendar but don't share it with anyone.
Thanks, Vicar! And here's a late addition from kathrynzj:
I use my email as a journal. I keep just about all correspondance in its own folder and when I send a response by email i put the sent message in the folder labeled by the persons name.
I also email myself. For instance, through the year I see positives and challenges in the staff here. I email my notes to myself and then put that email in a folder with that staff person's name. Now when I go to write those reviews, I have the folder to look up stuff I might not remember sitting cold in front of the computer.
If you're concerned about privacy, use your personal email. If you don't have an email just for personal use - get one!
If you have a suggestion for Sharon, please share it in the comments. I'm guessing some of our readers who are both tech-savvy and organized will have more ideas.
And please keep our Matriarch, Muthah+, and her dear friend, Judy, in your prayers, as Judy finishes a course of chemotherapy. Those of us who attended BE 3.0 had the chance to meet both of them.