Old Habits Do Die Hard

Looking Back



Old Habits Do Die Hard 


By Ron Munden 

Each morning I start the day with a bowl of cereal, a cup of green tea and a morning write.  I jot down notes about the previous day and a quick plan of the day.  Today, my notes included the design for a new computerized indexing system. Tomorrow it will be something different.

As I was writing today I realized some things just don’t change. 

In 1972 the Navy sent me to a time management class in San Francisco.  The instructor showed us his note keeping system.  He promised the class if we used this system consistently, we would save lots of time and be better managers.  When I returned to the Shipyard the following Monday, I started using his system.  

I used government supplied “green books”.  These were 8 inch by 11 inch hard-bound books about ¾ an inch thick.  I recorded my first note in 1972 and continued using the system until my retirement from DoD on December 31, 1998.

During those 26 years, I recorded my thoughts, daily observations and most importantly a note that recorded the date, time , subject and summary of every meeting I had during the day. I filed every completed notebook in xerox boxes used to hold the reams of paper used by our xerox machines.  When I changed jobs at DoD, all these boxes moved with me to my new office. 

In 1998 when I retired from DoD, one of my last acts was to have all of the 20+ cases of greenbooks loaded into a dumpster.  I did keep  the last three years for future reference.

The instructor was right.  The system had saved me hours of time, allowed me to answer questions that I was asked about meetings that I had held 3+ years earlier and helped me plan future projects.  I do think the system made me a better manager.

When I moved to the private sector I continued using a modified version of the system used at DoD. 

Today, I sat in the kitchen using another slightly modified version of the system used in  1972.  I have been out of the business world for 20 year but I still function the same way.  Old habits do die hard.


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