Cornell NotesI have been a long-time fan of the Cornell Notes method for taking notes. It was originally conceived for students, but I find it to be an invaluable note taking system for business. I take notes in the lined area, then go back and summarize action items on the left. I put a square box next to each action items which I can them use to check off items completed. For example:

[ ] Email Susan

[ ] File this

[ ] Call John re: this

I created these in Excel for maximum flexibility. The Letter (8.5×11″ version) layout is a single Cornell page; the Classic (5.5×8.5″ version) is in 2-Up format, meaning you print on letter, and use a paper cutter to trim to size. For the Classic version, the page on the left is Cornell format, and the page on the right is a Blank page format.

Download the Excel templates:

Here is another great resource on this topic from LifeHacker.