I am wondering what are the tips for improving our notes, here are some that hopefully propel your note-taking efforts forward to the next level. Taking notes is not a fixed way or style to me; There are some traditional note-taking systems but I definitely do not think there is a single method that applies and connects with everyone. Systems are created by people like you and me, we can evaluate them but by no means, all advice given by others will absolutely work for each and every one of us. Having said that, please read and learn these tips to test if they work for you or modify them to your advantage; What can work for one may not for another.
What are some note-taking tips?
- Develop your own note-taking methods
- Cultivate joy for note-taking
- Templates for your notes or project
- Write or type only in bullets with less words
- In your daily activities
- Play emotional or relaxing songs
- Take notes at the right time and place
- Food and drink
- WordPress your notes
Here are eleven tips that you may pick one or combine some factors into a personal note-taking routine. Note-taking is not rigid, we can and should explore how we can creatively make it more prepossessing and engaging. Note-taking is like book writing or movies, what and how you make of it is your choice and deed.
Develop your own note-taking methods
For advanced note-takers, you might already have an idea where, how and when you take your best notes. Not just the technique but also be specific for better results if possible. One or a combination of techniques may work well for you in the right situation.
For example, you find that you are well-versed with the Divide-And-Conquer method for taking notes (How To Take Notes For Computer Science) in most settings i.e. classroom, your room, and even better in your favorite cafe. And you also know that you are usually active and ready after jogging, muesli in fruit juice and a shower. So your daily routine could be taking notes with Divide-And-Conquer for your computer science thesis after your usual routine in that cafe.
Another example is the random page method in How To Take Notes On A Novel. Say you are facing a note-taker’s block (or not), and you want to kickstart your note-taking inertia instead of sitting there motionless, you could get the ball rolling first with the random page method (if appropriate to your cause), your cat curled up on your computer table, dozing off contentedly beside your keyboard whilst you read aloud to him and type out a page from your favorite book.
Evidently, a method tailored to your own requirement can be better than what someone else tells you. Your inspiration for note-taking methods may come anytime when you contemplate upon how you took good notes in the past.
Find the consistent elements that make you take good, critical notes, for now at least. It can be a certain hour i.e 8 a.m., a method of note-taking that clicks for you, in your cozy chair, with your tabby cat on your lap, by the fireplace, together in the living room with family and close friends, after splashing water on face and hands, with green tea, in a cool environment, overlooking the sea, in sunrises and sunsets, in a flower garden with doves, a bright and warm bench, with a vegan burger and fries, with a cup of tomato & lentil soup, etc. These can change over time and we adapt accordingly.
Short exercise: Can you remember or observe what are your best and consistent note-taking experiences? Perhaps you just have to recollect your teenage years of education. The answer can be right there in our own memory. Write them down and explore ways to piece them together. Experiment with note-taking variables (one at a time) to discover if you are uncertain.
Cultivate joy for note-taking
When we think about note-taking, our first impression could be dryness and boredom. One can hardly be blamed for that given what we are often shown and taught about it. However, we can change our mindset & approach and feel completely different about it. The first thing that comes to our mind about note-taking does not have to be dividing a piece of paper into side and bottom columns or following a rigid and overly tedious way. Instead, I propose a more cheerful and active approach such as discovering for yourself when and what conditions make you a better note-taker. Even a simple note-taking method by just starting from a blank page can be a good start if that makes you feel better.
Whether you developed your own personal method or learned a new technique from TakenotesGuide, nurture a more positive emotional connection for note-taking. You should not have to find taking notes a dreadful chore, but a joyous and uplifting affair. You may be fond of a modern method that inspires creativity and flexibility while keeping your notes neat and organized. You may have a method that associates happy thoughts with your notes. You may have a list of songs on an ‘invigorating list’ for your notes inserts. You may prefer to have your beloved baby, dog, cat, Mum or Dad around whenever you take notes.
Make your note-taking a joyful affair so you look forward to your next session. This can be an important factor in how you perceive where note-taking will take you from here onwards.
Templates for your notes or project
- Class Notes (Evernote)
- Project Overview (Evernote)
- Good Till Date (Gingkoapp)
- Meeting Notes
Templates are tools to provide notes layout and structure. These can prompt you to fill in the parts for quick results. Different templates may work for specific cases. I would recommend developing your own template and method, but to each his own.
Write or type only in bullets with less words
- Hyphenated-nouns shorten sentences
- Easier to read, speed read, review and memorise
- Understand the essentials
- Bold and highlight appropriately
- Underline few words in thick lines for books
You might even color each bullet list for clear separation and distinction. The fewer words the better for reading.
In your daily activities
For example, take notes of uncommon vocabularies with example sentences while watching movies; For your new novel while traveling in a train; For your project ideas while on mobile smartphones; For learning a language during short breaks; Studying notes with baroque and relaxing music.
One may set a day target for how many notes and points to take. Please read Best, Good, And Bad Note-Taking Habits for more. You may notice different activities are more suited for certain note-taking purposes. You just have to experiment to find what works best for you, probably days to months to test with variables before knowing better.
Be curious like a cat. Note-Taking should not be a dull affair. TakeNotesGuide hopes to boost and re-engineer note-taking with unique techniques, modern innovation, and anew enthusiasm. Like any other skills, its creative uses are only limited by our own imagination and unwillingness to explore; The rising number of different note apps demonstrates this, there are so many variations of implementation to typing a blank note page. Our goal is to find out our preferences for faster and better note-taking, but it also does depend on what we value.
Examples of note apps to explore:
- Aesthetically designed note appearance i.e. Typora
- Modern notes with sleek formatting i.e. Markdown with StackEdit
- Power up notes with audio, images, and sharing i.e. Evernote
- Robust and mobile notes with dark background option i.e. Pure Writer and Evernote on Google Play Store
- Academic and more notes with a distinctive look and feel e.g. Gingkoapp
More importantly, explore the approaches and methods you can take notes in terms of understanding your subject-matter logically. On this aspect, please read through the various posts on TakeNotesGuide for more ideas.
Play emotional or relaxing songs
This can be subjective to individual preferences. Some may suggest Baroque for studying. Music of compassion and kindness may invoke tender tears, serve to remind us of our beloved ones and why we are writing and taking notes, slogging in the middle of the night at the backyard shed in cold winter snow with only a Birman and a portable heater for company…
If music and songs have a strong positive influence on you, then play away from any internet emotional radio music e.g. RadioTunes whilst typing your notes.
We all have heard of inspirational stories of heroes overcoming great odds, obstacles, and villains, to achieve greatness. Life is really not so different, because we all have our own internal and external struggles and challenges. Our note-taking path can also be so. Some may be more gifted than others, but that does not mean they do not work harder than most. Everyone is unique; We can do more in ways that others do not, and vice versa.
We just have to continue taking notes despite the barriers. Do not let temporary setbacks distract you. Perseverance also means that we keep resetting and come back to take notes again and again. Like drawing and painting, we discover we can accomplish more when we perform a practiced routine. If your note-taking way is too dull and uninteresting, change your game plan by learning a modern method. If you lack discipline, then find determination with clarity of purpose. If you find your subjects or topics too dry, find and implement applications for them. If you find it hard to focus, examine the causes for your condition and fix what you can. If you cannot take notes regularly as planned, do what you can with what you have and figure out how to do better from there.
For example, to date probably none of the posts on TakeNotesGuide are written in one single session. Perhaps unlike other bloggers, I learn from, I may take much longer to write each post. Even if I spend hours or days more than expected, I do not feel too discouraged to stop. Why? There are simply too many factors at play here. First, everyone is distinctive. Some may write faster while others can be more attentive to details. Some may write in a trendy style while another with a more personal touch. Second, our situations and challenges are different. This blogger may have a part-time job while another does not. One blogger may write for a niche that is easy to research while chipping in his own experience, while another might be in a completely different niche with his posts of original content far unlike most others in the industry. Third, I strongly believe you do not need to pump out content at top speed like some veteran content experts to succeed. As long as you persevere, I believe you will succeed as long as you follow the steps in a proven blogging course even if you just have a fraction of a top writer’s content.
In other words, do not stop and let hurdles block you from taking good notes. Find and explore ways to overcome them. Persevere.
Take notes at the right time and place
For the right timing, please read 10 Ideas When To Take Notes.
The right place can your favorite place. An enclosed environment where you feel safe or undisturbed. Your sanctuary. I would recommend your home or a place close to nature where you can take short garden and forest paths, brief hill walks, beach stroll, and family picnics spots. Stop at scenic spots where you can safely sit and start taking notes. Check out Google maps for any recreation parks, books and cat cafes nearby. Visit public libraries and bookstores for research as well.
Food and drink
Eat nutritious vegan food in the right amount. Organic muesli mix, fruits, and good tea such as matcha and English breakfast tea are all excellent choices for any mental work. Choose brown rice over white rice. Just take food in moderation because overeating can hinder your note-taking efforts. Drink adequate clean water to stay hydrated. I recommend authentic mineral or spring water and avoid cold drinks. Eating the wrong foods will affect us adversely whether in studies or work. This is one factor you do not want to get wrong.
Health is a very important part of our lives, not just for note-taking, exercise regularly and pay attention to what you eat and drink; Do read the ingredients label to avoid chemical compounds whenever possible. In short, take natural foods and enough water.
WordPress your notes
- Journalise your note-taking journey on the free WordPress.com (An existing free platform for noting as much as you want) or your own domain name.
- Easily access organised posts by searching or display with calendar or categories or tags.
- Supports commenting on your own posts when reviewing and future reflection
- Share your notes with the world in the hope someone will benefit; There is also an option for private posts.
Personally, I use Evernote more to write now. And so far I probably had not lost any notes content yet, and there are more features to it than I need. If words are your primary domain (no videos) and you know how to reduce your images size drastically (example within this post), then Evernote’s free and basic subscription can be all you require.
These are just note-taking tips, a suggestive guide. Whether they are of any use at all will have to depend on you alone. Note-taking is a personal affair, what goes on in your mind and how you evaluate a topic is entirely your own experience. Action is more meaningful than passing words. These tips can only be beneficial if you persevere or share them.
On a side note, think about the reasons for learning tips on how to take notes? What is the big picture? How does every single note we fit into the grand scheme of things? In my humble opinion, people often lost their correct life purpose in the pursuit of grandeur. Have we forgotten to cherish the people and pets in our lives…
Note-taking could be wearisome and monotonous with traditional note-taking systems, but this may not and should not be the case. We can invent a new way to take notes if the old methods are not appealing. Note-taking is like a song, we can have a different experience when sung by another person, change of singing technique and emotion, lyrics and language. For example, change your perspective and take imaginative notes with pilot solutions in mind to solve a problem on CodePen programming test-beds.
Good luck and have fun with note-taking!
What if I want to blog with Evernote instead of WordPress?
Notes on Evernote can be shared (Right-click your note and click Share Note) or with public links (Right-click your note and click Copy Shareable Link or press CMD plus /) but to turn your Evernote notebook into a blog or site for free, please consider a dedicated service such as Postach.io.
Is there a convenient way to set alarms or reminders for note-taking?
You may easily set an alarm and manage alarms by speaking into smartphones, works for both Google voice detection and Siri.
Tap on the microphone icon and start speaking, for example, “Alarm in 2 hours” as self-notification to take notes. “Show all alarms” to view and manage. “Reminder in 2 hours” will prompt you to enter more details.