Managing responsibilities

Having trouble figuring out a seamless way to manage my responsibilities on the ship, in port, etc. I love my notebook as a quick way to write stuff down but feel like it’s too hard to find information after the fact. My computer is full of folders and my external hard drives are not reliable. How do you manage all of the knowledge/responsibilities to do your job?

It will come across as a BS answer, but if you do it long enough most if it becomes second nature.

Yea, that makes sense. But what about seafarers that are new to the vessel or industry?

When I was a very young and very junior officer my NCO introduced me to 3x5 cards. Made a huge difference. Instead of thumbing through an ever-growing notebook you take a spare moment (breakfast in my case) and sort through the stack, tossing the ones that deal with stuff that is done or no longer relevant. Sounds simpleminded and old-fashioned but still works for me. Especially now that I have difficulty remembering what I had for breakfast (or even if I got around to eating it) :slight_smile:



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Yes! The 3x5 cards are always so helpful. Did you also use the cards to write down knowledge you picked up from a shipmate or particular experience? Or was that mostly based on tasks that needed to get done?

I wrote down everything. Mild OCD is an aid in certain professions :slight_smile:



Just remember to take them out of your pocket before you do laundry (been there…)


When I started I had a notebook, wrote down everything I thought would be good to know…never opened it to reference info. Now I get to watch the new hires running around filling their notebooks.

Now I use a checklist to keep track of everything I need to do every voyage.

Why did you never open your notebook to reference info? Can you tell me more about your checklist - how is it organized? Is it a checklist of to-do list items or more “how to”?

James Fallows on GTD (Getting Things Done)

My own journey on the organizing road started with Merlin Mann’s 43 folders and his hipster PDA with GTD roots and ended with Omni Focus. Still the hipster still works nicely in machinery space with a “write in the rain” note pad in the tool bag as back up. Never could adapt to having a phone on me when working. It seems to work for some guys though.

Yeah, I never got too far down the 43 folders road but there’s a lot of good tips, the “three-minute rule”, “getting everything out of your head” etc.

The information is usually readily available from other sources, so there wasn’t much to be gained from carrying a notebook around.

Checklist is to-do, one double sided sheet for the voyage. There is an ever expanding list of logs to be completed, entries to be made or checked, paperwork to prep, messages to send, equipment tests. Sections of the list follow along in the progress of the voyage; pre-load, post-load, pre-discharge, and post-discharge.

I’ve got a thumb drive with that checklist, a spreadsheet for fuel, and a folder with a whole bunch of random information and documents I’ve collected for reference that, like the old notebook, never get looked at.