We take notes in class or at work to better understand a topic and for review purposes. But these documents tend to be quickly forgotten or unusable when poorly constructed. There are many note taking strategies out there and you should determine which one is best suited for your needs. Building your own solution is ideal because no method is one-size-fits-all. With the correct building blocks, a few tips, and the right tools, you’ll be creating quality notes everytime.
Preparation is Paramount
Before you walk into your next meeting or lecture, you should know what you’re getting yourself into. Presenters or classes usually announce ahead of time what the session will be about. By quickly reviewing any information given beforehand, you’ll be in a better mindset to take and understand your notes. Prepare your notes by adding ancillary info like the date and appropriate labels.
Listening is Half the Battle
Do you ever zone out and don’t even know what you’re writing? Good listening skills are just as important as taking good notes. Always focus on what’s being emphasized by the presenter.
Make note of main points, arguments, facts that are repeated, and general summaries. If the speaker took the time to reiterate a piece of information, it’s likely important. By actively listening for these specific cues, you’ll be able to effectively write down and absorb the information.
Keep It Simple Stupid
When writing notes, especially while following a presentation, be short and concise with your words. But don’t abbreviate to the point where your page is a mess of random letters. Write out keywords, names, dates, definitions, theories and frameworks being discussed. Use symbols like arrows to indicate an increase or decrease. You should also leave room to explain sections of your notes in further detail if necessary.
Perfect notes focus on main points with simplified content that you can fill in the gaps during review. Notes are not books and should only highlight what’s important. Throughout the note taking process, add questions to look up and ask later for clarification. Ultimately, your notes should be a comprehensive summary of any topic.
Divide and Conquer your Word Processor
Whether you take notes on paper or on your laptop, consistency is key. Will you go with bullet points or longform writing? Are you creating an outline, a flowchart, or tables? Once you decide on your structure, make sure to stick to it to avoid confusion during review. By standardizing your writing method, you will better understand your notes.
An efficient way of taking notes is by separating each item into its own box. This box method creates notes that are visual, clear, and concise with room for details. A platform such as WriteWay uses a Card system to help you easily create distinct note boxes per item. If you’re not sure where to place a note, the Integrated Idea Board will save content for later use. As you type your notes the Editable Dynamic Outline will automatically organize your notes accordingly.
Making WriteWay Work for You
The WriteWay team is excited to show you all the new features and apps we are cooking up to help you create better content. Sign up for our Waitlist to get notified immediately when new products and features become available. Our tools help you streamline your workflow by providing a clean interface and dynamic document creation. Discover the WriteWay to get work done.