Taking Notes – Paper or Keyboard?

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Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren. This was originally published on 31 Jan, 2012, but is being re-run as Steve is at SQL in the City Summit today.

I use a mix of techniques to take notes. If I’m leading or participating actively in a meeting I write notes. If I’m not an active participant and the noise won’t be an issue I’ll type them. I’m fussy about the notepad I use. For years I used a notebook just a bit bigger than half page sized, recently I’ve gone to the half paged sized format bound with discs, using the ARC system from Staples until I decide if I like it. If I do, I’ll either upgrade to a Levenger Circa notebook, or make my own cover. I use a twist style ballpoint pen that I made myself, black ink. Strangely for a geek I haven’t yet made the leap to OneNote or Evernote, most of my electronic notes wind up in Outlook.

If that sounds illogical and mildly convoluted I’d have to agree!

To add to that, mostly I capture tasks or items for follow up and who was at a meeting. My notes tend to be short, written as bullet points, with chicken scratched callouts to things I add as we refine an item. Often my notes only last a day or two and then I discard, only on long projects do I keep them as a running journal, even though I rarely refer back to them (just often enough to merit keeping them!).

I’m curious about how you take notes. Do you care about the pen and paper? Do you use Evernote, OneNote, or something else on your computer? What works for you?

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