What Ifs: Note-taking And Character Building Ideas

I am wondering what are the possible ways to improve or have fun with note-taking, and in this case with the What-ifs approach. Here is an exploration of the possibilities of the way we can revolutionize note-taking & learning and self-evaluation for character building and more. I humbly hope this will benefit someone who will put this to good use for the benefit of all lives.

What-ifs, at least to me, can be a fresh innocent look at everything and anything, a perspective approach akin to an untainted young child learning the knowledge of the world. May all be pure and kind in these difficult and suffering times.

The following is a what-ifs note-taking or learning ideas exercise example.

What if we:

  1. take notes in spider web outward spread fashion?
  2. take notes from a left to right expansion manner like Gingkoapp?
  3. organize our knowledge in the Sherlock Holmes’ Mind Palace fashion?
  4. take all notes with label tags for easy future searches and reference?
  5. jot down all random relevant thoughts about a lesson or subject before studying it?
  6. challenge ourselves to study all our subjects way before semester starts and let our creative exploration do the rest after?
  7. take notes by focusing on understanding the materials well and taking photos or screenshots without writing a single word?
  8. research well which books we should study on our own and evaluate by sampling the first chapters? And even to books not taught or mentioned in our curriculum?
  9. specialize in a sub-topic or sub-subject so well that we can invent or create new applications?
  10. learn calligraphy or poetry to take meaningful and artistic notes?
  11. take notes by playing a game of what-are-main-points-in-this-lesson with a partner? And verified to be correct or complete by the teacher or tutor? Extra points awarded to capturing the essence or deducing useful applications beyond but based on what was taught?
  12. play out as many scenarios and possibilities as we feasibly can and jot down the best ones? And even consider the subsequent reactions and consequences ahead?
  13. watch a short and soothing cat (or any of your favorite animal) video before we engage in any study or work? Can we teach our pets what we just learned, regardless of whether they understand or respond to us? May we actually reinforce our learning by teaching?
  14. learn a new language or even a programming language that may add more fun and words to your current notes?
  15. split our note pages in halves and take notes for one subject on one side and another subject on the other?
  16. need another trustable sharp-minded individual or mentor to observe and correct our bad habits and erroneous notes occasionally? Have you shown your notes to your teacher or tutor before for advise?
  17. play a class or group game of notes comparison for the best notes in 5 different categories: Completeness, Organization, Creativity, Fun, Usefulness? And share out for downloads with the note-taker’s permission?
  18. focus on understanding examples and comparisons for logic for studying and life (as compared to just memorizing surfeited information)? Can correct logic application be the goal and utmost importance in education rather than superficial knowledge? Should we take our initiative and complete a free and significant online logical and critical thinking 8-weeks course?
  19. learn with a project based learning community such as PenPal Schools. Or arrange beforehand with a like-minded penpal to document and share notes compiled at the end of each day to encourage one another
  20. integrate study or work notes into our daily life journal so the personalized notes are made more memorable and fun with our individual factual life stories? Wouldn’t documenting our life story along with what we learned be a powerful and personal way of learning like making a song your own?
  21. sing out our study or work notes in different tones, rhythms or melodies to make learning and memorizing fun?
  22. keep a personal traditional or digital voice recorder for frequent notes recording and emphasis? Possible voice apps here.
  23. cultivate or train ourselves to quickly and automatically look and take notes of points of interest or peculiarity?
  24. take frequent short breaks from studying or work to stretch our body, massage our eyes, and neck, consume hot health drinks or tea? Can boosting our blood circulation and overall health actually improve our productivity and mood?
  25. mingle amusing and atypical words and terms for conspicuous notes?
  26. warm-up with a puzzle solving book for 30 minutes before studying or work that requires some mental finesse? A good puzzle book like Master Theorem Book Puzzles may help train in logic thinking will be good. Or one with a mystery storyline can be more intriguing for some.
  27. consistently learn or review at least one point or idea for every chapter everyday up till examination? Shouldn’t breakdown and frequent review increase our chance of understanding and remembrance of information? Discipline to learn in this sense can be a game changer in my humble opinion, even when some may not have photographic memory or super talent in studying.
  28. take time to watch birds, harmless animals, flowers or take nature and beach walks between study or work breaks? Not only such activities benefit our eyes health but may also calm us down for better mental focus.
  29. take all notes on one digital canvas that can zoom out endlessly? The advantage of such an app is to have a clear overall picture and reminder of how all information relates and connects up. Endless Paper paid iOS and iPad app is the only such app I found. A close alternative may be Affinity designer‘s large but freedom to create any number of artboards. Notes can be top-down, left-right, spider web expansion or any effective fashion you fancy.
  30. take notes on our room wall (possibly by pasting a large transparent film or white paper over) or large white board so we can work on it anytime? Such a large canvas can also promote our creative drawing talent skill.
  31. create our own unique patterns notebook with an app such as Affinity designer
  32. take organic green tea or muesli rich in berries, nuts and seeds for brain health an hour or two before we take study or work notes?
  33. stay motivated with regular group study companionship with free online group chat, call or video apps such as WhatsApp and LINE? Or live broadcast our studying on YouTube or Twitch?
  34. study or work while petting a cat or pet?
  35. study together with family?
  36. study, work, and live in the same or close spaces to make more effective use of our time without travelling? Online classes and shopping platforms are proving to be more accessible and feasible in modern times.
  37. take study or work breaks watching YouTube learning to cook vegan food for family and friends? Maybe cooking vegan food for family and others will prove to be an invaluable skill and more gratifying than any notes we will ever take? Perhaps we can mark each page with one recipe icon for memory link association or fun?
  38. learn to take more short health breaks can prolong and enhance our quality of life and hence our study or work mood and productivity as well? 
  39. study or work hard and smart yet without constraining ourselves to only the grades and results?
  40. research well and know what suitable and feasible future options are open to us early on? Can early and good planning save us from much stress, anguish and mounting debts by pursuing the wrong life and career choices?
  41. self-evaluate, know and accept if we are quitter, capable, average, interested, disciplined, have the time, energy and budget or not before embarking on a new course, book, project, venture or job? Can we save us from ourselves?
On a side note, did you miss this post?   Fun With 7 Simple Note-taking Games

Bonus: Take breaks or relax in between your studies or work by watching one of a n appropriate short film or episode:

  1. Omeletto channel on YouTube
  2. Dust channel o1n YouTube
  3. Cats on YouTube
  4. Gags for laughs on YouTube
  5. Vegan recipes on YouTube
  6. Anime on Netflix

Note: Keep focus and do not be distracted after break time.

A character building and more exercise example.

What if we:

  1. (how) we react to obstacles and negativities in studies and life will determine our success or downfall in future? Did we ignore praises and destructive criticisms in our pursue for excellence? Instead did we rightly help or pray for the benefit of those who harmed us?
  2. (the) books we learn from are not teaching what is more or most important to us as human beings? 
  3. keep taking breaks and keep coming back to where we hit a mental block or hurdle without yielding to defeat? And this character building process is learning to persevere is more important than the knowledge itself?
  4. do not necessarily confine ourselves with limited choices in front of us but consider good and wholesome options outside our known perimeters?
  5. cultivate a culture and habit of praise and rejoice for others’ honorable achievements and smart note-taking above ourselves?
  6. focus on loving kindness and hard work instead of victory and grades?
  7. examine and understand the underlying causes and conditions for our problems, including our underwhelming academic endeavors?
  8. re-examine and evaluate what we learned over the years and decide how much information and how many books really benefit or matter in the end? Make a practical list and justify with sound reasonings. How did your years of education investment or debt work out? Or only language or basic maths skills are required for your work and life? Can we change or improve on education cost and choice?
  9. create our own study curriculum for ourselves or our homeschooling kids?
  10. accept that everyone is different in potential, talent and capability. And be patient yet disciplined in teaching and learning?
  11. education should teach us that the means or good character is more important than temporary results or fleeting ends?
  12. cultivating ourselves to be good and kind without expectation of any returns is incomparably far more rewarding and enriching than just school grades and temporary selfish gains?
  13. love for others, including cats and other animals, is boundlessly much more significant than any worldly knowledge or external wealth we may acquire for selfish purposes in our lives?
  14. (our) interests and passion in learning and acquiring knowledge is a path to become a better person?
  15. (others) is always more important that ourselves? 

We should set our expectations right and strike a balance between creativity and not overdoing it.

What-ifs note-taking exercise challenge for you:
Choose an appropriate short film from Omeletto channel on YouTube that interest you. Come up with a relevant list of useful what-ifs that the film can be improved upon. In other words, provide in points a constructive film review or improvement suggestions or what if it was up to you.

Summary

What if we radically change our perspective on how we take notes in a boring way to an interesting yet effective way that can be useful by applying in our adult lives? Self-evaluation can be an important but often ignored or overlooked aspect of life, we carry on applying the same ineffective thinking and broken methodologies even when problems are not solved; is it a matter of insufficiency or simply wrong approach or both? What if the right evaluation with retrospection can help us improve to a better version of ourselves? 
No matter which technique or preference, please bear in mind the utmost importance of logical and critical thinking in note-taking or otherwise. What we learn should make sense without contradiction.
In terms of pure note-taking apps, Gingkoapp and Endless Paper can be an alternative for the adventurous from the classic Evernote.

Choose love and be kind. Stay safe in this pandemic time.

PS: What if we have more life options than we know or realize? For one, if you are struggling with certain issues in life and felt like you have no one to talk with about it, please give yourself a chance at Wanna Talk About It.

Related Questions

Where can I read legal Manga for free?

There are 5 sites suggested here. That said, I would think Anime on Netflix offering is competently sufficient for most, not only it has many of the popular ones for easy streaming on different devices but with English subtitles as well. One probably will not find all Anime on Netflix and you still have to vet out those you find unsuitable or uninteresting.

What about English children’s books?

Asterix, Tintin, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl are all popular choices. Older children or teens may prefer the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Jeeves. Also, Vooks, can be a good online stories platform for modern kids.

Related Links

  1. Logical and critical thinking 8-weeks course
  2. Evernote
  3. Gingkoapp
  4. Endless Paper
  5.  PenPal Schools
  6. Evernote
  7. Affinity Designer Maximum Artboard Size
  8. Master Theorem Book Puzzles
  9. Mystery storyline
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