Here’s one of those publish the process posts I promised. The photo above is an example of how I take notes at my desk, when using pen and paper. I thought I’d share it today, along with some tips, and a look at how I take notes.
Some notes on note taking
You may notice it’s written in capitals. I do that deliberately. I write extremely fast in cursive, but it can be really hard for me to accurately read what I’ve written afterwards. Writing in capitals slows me a little, which also seems to result in better notes.
Although I used a fountain pen for this note, I use ballpoint pens the majority of the time. Also, when I use ballpoints, I tend to use different pigments in the note. I always have a BIC 4-in-1 (red, green, black, blue) ballpoint pen at my desk and in my bag.
I only write the main points down to begin with. This lets me get the big picture on the page, while it’s still vivid in my memory. And I peg the detail onto the main points afterwards. It works for me.
If you’re wondering, those particular notes were for a blog post. I added the detail to them later, then typed it up into WordPress for the blog.
That notebook was really cheap. I only use cheap notebooks now. I used to invest in expensive, branded notebooks ones, but found zero additional value. I find some people treat their notes like works of art. Not the content of the note. Just the overall design! Many of my best notes were scribbled onto a napkin or a scrap of paper. And some of those scribbles are still perfectly readable, 30 years later!
Almost all the handwritten notes on my client sessions are written into an iPad Pro, using the Apple Notes app. I have my pre-session notes typed up into the app. Then, notes from the session are quickly jotted down onto the same document. I switched to this approach around a year ago. It’s been a huge productivity win.
I’ve found that the key piece of advice regarding note taking, is to find what works best for you, and not to follow every so-called breakthrough in note taking. It’s the value of what you capture that matters. Not the tools. Not the design.
I hope you found something useful there.