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Episode Details

Episode #



January 5, 2023


13 minutes

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Finding the Best Note-Taking Techniques

We encounter so much information daily—it’s easy to get lost or confused. One of the best ways to combat this is to have a good note-taking approach. But how do you take effective notes and keep them organized enough to be useful?

Show Notes

Why is it valuable to take notes?

  • Our brains are quite fallible.
  • We work hard to keep it strong, and you can still forget things.
  • Notes are a great way to know what was said, and what that meant to you at the time.

What can you take notes for?

  • The two big ones are meetings and books, for different reasons:
    • Meetings, to remember what we said and serve our clients appropriately.
    • Books, to help me learn.
  • This could be reframed as learning and logistics.
  • Other things can include conferences, podcasts, task lists, etc.

What do you do with your notes after writing them down?

  • For many people, just writing notes down is a huge first step.
  • For me, it depends on the type of note:
    • For meetings, I’ll make sure they’re cleaned up and in a place where the team can benefit from them.
    • For books, I’ll add more context around them and put them in a system where I can use them later. I also try to pull out any gems and turn those into future blog posts.

Why do you prefer digital notes to physical ones?

  • I’m digital all the way, mostly for the ability to share with others and do some great cross-referencing on my own.
  • There are advantages to hand-writing notes, though some of the stated ones are a bit over-blown. The three big advantages that I hear about are:
    1. Handwriting slows you down, in a good way. Handwriting forces you to write about the topic rather than copying verbatim, which makes you think more. Be careful not to just type word for word.
    2. Digital shows too much information/distractions. This is true, but easily solved.
    3. Digital shows too many tasks — the list never ends. Well, configure it differently and make it end.
  • I tend to go with a hybrid. I’ll often take notes by hand, and then move them into a digital system later. This serves two purposes:
    1. I can be more present. Depending on the environment, a laptop may not even be appropriate, but manual notes are hard to find.
    2. The migration of manual notes to a digital system is gold. I take church notes by hand, but processing them is an enjoyable Sunday afternoon activity.

How is note-taking relevant for marketers or business leaders?

  • It goes back to the two core reasons:
    • For clients and meetings, you want to know what they said and remember what you promised.
    • On the other hand, as a marketer or business leader, you should be constantly working on your skills.

I recently wrote a post about the different ways someone might take notes about a book. It gives more detail about how to capture information that you read.