Document It

  • Keep records of your telephone calls (including when you get constant busy signals, when no one answers and when you leave a message and no one returns your calls).
  • Take notes during meetings (or use a tape recorder if you have one). Don't be afraid to ask people to repeat things if you don't understand, or if you don't get a chance to write it all down.
  • Take notes when you talk to someone on the telephone, just like when you meet with someone.
  • Write down (or tape record) any information you think you may need later. Don't rely on your memory. You have a lot to think about, and it's impossible to keep all that information in your head!
  • When you meet with someone, ask for a business card. Or ask the person to write down his or her name, title, agency, address and telephone and fax numbers.
  • Make sure you get the names, titles, agency names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone who is in a meeting with you. You never know whom you may want to call later.
  • Write down your thoughts and questions as you go along during meetings or phone calls. That way, when it's your turn to talk, you won't forget anything you want to say or ask!
  • Write down file/case numbers, the names and phone numbers of workers and supervisors, etc.
  • When you finish a conversation (on the phone or in person) - review your notes right away and confirm with the person what she or he will do next and what you will do next. Do this before you hang up the phone or leave the office – it reminds the worker (and you) what has to be done.
  • Keep extra copies of documents/records you need (such as your grandchild's birth certificate, Social Security numbers, etc.)