Throughout my career I’ve precepted students and trained new hires. One thing I’ve noticed in my training adventures is the success people have when they write things down in a little book that they carry around with them.

I strongly encourage all my trainee’s to do this…I’ve seen such a difference in success vs. struggle by this small little act that I wish I could make it mandatory. For me, it’s the act of writing that helps cement procedures in my brain. What I would do, and always recommended to others, is to write things down as you’re being trained and then go home and read through what you wrote and visualize yourself doing it. I did this recently with a new position, so I definitely practice what I preach.

Here are three quick steps to effectively use your trusty little book:



Write things down as you’re being trained.

Go home and re-write your notes.


Visualize yourself doing the actions as you rewrite it.

When you’re in training, you write things on the fly, so your book will become a mess of handwriting with no flow to it which drives a type A personality like me nuts. Making myself take the time to re-write my notes while thinking of how I was trained to do a task is an extra step, but the next day at work it makes a huge difference, plus my book continues to look neat and tidy. As I’m re-writing, I also leave spaces for those little details that I might not have written down at the time, but come up the next day so that I can fill any missing gaps. I’ve heard many excuses from people about why they don’t want to write things down. The most common is, “I just remember it.” To that I say good on you if you can. However, I can also make a couple arguments against that.
  1. If you’re going to multiple sites, each one usually has its own shut down and start up procedures and tweaks about how they prefer to do things. Instead of having to look it up every time you work in that location and risk missing a step, you have it in your trusty little book.
  2. I also like to see how other techs prep their rooms, so that after a procedure I can leave it in the same way. My very first supervisor and mentor instilled this in me. She said it showed respect for your fellow techs and created a positive habit of always cleaning up after yourself. This is probably not a do or die tidbit, but I like to pay attention and make my co-workers’ lives a little easier. I also like to leave things in order at the end of the day to help the first person in the next morning. Again, these are notes that are worth writing down – trusty little book to the rescue!
  3. If I don’t have to commit everything in my brain and stress myself out trying to remember every little detail, a lot of stress goes away knowing things are written down and that I can refer to them any time. This means less stress for me the night before my shift when I’d typically be racking my brain trying to remember the details about a room I haven’t worked in for awhile.
Have I convinced you? It will get to a point where you don’t need your book anymore because you’ve done things so many times, but I’ve always kept mine in my locker or in a drawer. I eventually forget about it and find it a couple years later which is fascinating because of how quickly technology and procedures change. I love reminiscing at how things ‘used to be.’ Cheers to the good ol’ days.