This morning on the weekly user webinar we talked about the difference between Log Entries and Action Items. It might seem obvious to you, but I’ve been asked about this a lot lately. So here’s how we see the two:
A Log Entry might be notes on a conversation I had with someone. For example, let’s say that you call me and we talk for thirty minutes… I’m going to create a Log Entry and store any information that I might want later. I might say how long we talked (there’s a big difference between a three minute call and a thirty minute call), what we talked about, and what I learned from our call. I might record specific questions I asked, if I did a good job asking questions. I might record what your demeanor was, and if you seem to be someone I want to continue a relationship with.
That’s about it… just recording information.
If I found an article about you, or your company, I might create a Log Entry with the link to the article, and maybe even the full text of the article (you never know when things disappear). If I have a thought about you, which turns out to be something I need to record, I might create a Log Entry… even though we didn’t talk or communicate!
I create an Action Item when I need to do something, like “follow-up on the resume I sent in,” or “email John and see how he is doing,” etc. An Action Item is something I need to do, and I want a reminder of it. In a job search and in networking it’s easy to list things, whether they are just informational or something to do later, but if we aren’t prompted to do them, we can really fail in our activities.
The way I create an Action Item is to create a Log Entry, and then put a “due date” on it. For example, I talked to John about xyz (that is the Log Entry), and I need to call him next Friday (that is the Action Item). Once a Log Entry has an Action Item due date, I have a reminder to follow-up on it.
My favorite way to create Log Entries is the Email2Log feature, which allows me to create a Log Entry just by BCC’ing an email to the server. Watch the video on this Email2Log blog post to learn more.