Taking Notes – Paper or Keyboard?

  • Mind mapping. Blank piece of paper (unruled) and four different colored pens. I've only been trying it for a short while, but am finding it to be very effective. I do have some free software called MindJet on my Android, which isn't bad, but it's much easier to just draw on paper.

    I haven't started using OneNote or Evernote, although you can mind map within that too, and that may be more effective for organization.

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  • Pen and paper to create a mind map while the meeting/lecture/session is going on. Also, I record meetings/lectures/sessions with my usb dicatphone.

    When the meeting/lecture/session is over, I'll use a combination of my mind map, recording of the talk and several books to type up a decent document. Then create a better mind-map with more detail and keep document, mind-map and detailed mind-map together for future reference.


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  • It's a mix for me. I sometimes use paper and pen (not pencil) or I will type them electronically on laptop, phone or something - it depends on the meeting and location.

    I like the half page size notebooks. I am not picky on which one.

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  • There has been research demonstrating that people tend to remember better when taking hand notes over keyboard notes. It appears that the kinesthetics of the motion helps reinforce the memory.

    Personally my circles and arrows help me structure the concept on paper.

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  • jay holovacs (1/31/2012)


    There has been research demonstrating that people tend to remember better when taking hand notes over keyboard notes. It appears that the kinesthetics of the motion helps reinforce the memory.

    Personally my circles and arrows help me structure the concept on paper.

    That might be true but what is the real purpose for taking notes? I take notes for bits of information I might need later on -- not to improve my memory.

  • At my desk I use Clipcache and Outlook and sometimes can't find half of what I write.

    In meetings I like a gel-type pen and a 5 x 9 (approx.) wirebound notebook.

    My biggest problem with pen & paper is that I get bored and start doodling.

  • Pen and paper, on a regular notepad.

    To-do items, I copy into a ticketing system.

    I periodically review the notepad and put a checkmark over items that require no further attention at all, and discard sheets where everything is marked that way.

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  • cengland0 (1/31/2012)


    jay holovacs (1/31/2012)


    There has been research demonstrating that people tend to remember better when taking hand notes over keyboard notes. It appears that the kinesthetics of the motion helps reinforce the memory.

    Personally my circles and arrows help me structure the concept on paper.

    That might be true but what is the real purpose for taking notes? I take notes for bits of information I might need later on -- not to improve my memory.

    I DO take notes to help me remember things: I work in the medical industry, and I sit in on a lot of institution open lectures, to learn more about the diseases that are the subjects of research which I support. Paper and pencil, I'll draw pictures, etc. I don't need to transfer the notes into an electronic document. But I do learn the topic better when I write physical notes.

    For me, To do lists, tasks, etc. do work better if they are transferred to an Outlook task, or electronic document to share.

  • I am an Evernote junkie. OneNote used to be my favorite application, but once I understood how Evernote beat OneNote on tagging and sync'ing across platforms and devices, Evernote became my favorite application and I completely stopped using OneNote for personal use.

    I don't just use Evernote for notes. I use it for almost everything. I use it for GTD-style task tracking, a filing cabinet, picture albums, journaling, etc., etc.

  • I use OneNote, Outlook and pen & paper. During meetings I take notes on paper. After meeting is over I type the important notes I want to keep into OneNote. If the notes on paper are a task, I enter them into Outlook as a task. Then of-course recycle the paper, keeping my desk clutter free 🙂

  • Paper and Pen for me. I too tend to remember more when I am actually writing out notes versus typing them up. Plus i like the flexibility of just grabbing a pad of paper and meeting anywhere. It also gives me a break from the computer for a bit. 🙂

    Once I have everything drawn out and written down, I will convert it to Word or Excel as needed. Usually I only transfer notes electronically once the concept is locked down. If it is still a work in progress and I am not yet ready to begin actual coding then it stays on paper so I can scratch stuff out, draw new diagrams, etc. Occasionally the diagrams will end up in Visio but only if development is about finished and I am creating documentation or if the project is so big that we need to share diagrams with others to get concepts across or management buy-in. I usally keep my notes and drawings for a couple of months or until they are totally irrelevant.

  • KWymore (1/31/2012)


    . . . It also gives me a break from the computer for a bit.

    +1

  • Paper notes using any type of paper or notebook with any pen - I'm not picky. A computer has too many distractions if I get bored.

    The one thing I don't like about using notepads is the the next page has the imprint of what you just wrote, so I will cut a plastic folder to the size of my notebook and tuck it in between the page I am writing on and the rest of the notebook. If the notes are 'keep' notes then I will write on one side of the page, if the notes are temporary then I will write on both sides of the page.

    I might transfer my notes over to Ubernote online, but mainly the notes were to get the data so I could go get more information later or put it on my to do list.

    I'm trying to get away from having everything physically on my computer as if it crashes, everything is gone, so I started to use these online tools: Ubernote for webclippings and notes, Worflowly for my home lists (shopping lists), toodledo for my work to do lists, Pinboard for bookmarks, Google Doc for the bigger documents and my yahoo/google mail for capturing misc information. I was using TreePad as my information depot but like Ubernote for the ability to multi-tag information and have it available anywhere.

    When someone at work gives me a to do, I tell them to email it to me, then I will either write it down in my 'to do' steno notebook or email it to my toodledo account.

    Christy

  • Pencil and paper for me. I carry around a standard wire bound, five subject notebook (9" x 11") everywhere. It has hundreds of pages, and pouches for standard printouts and meeting agendas, or standard copy paper just sits between the pages, usually without sticking out much. I use these notebooks, 'cause I can get them cheap ($2-3) during back to school sales in August/September and usually last a year or more. When I fill a notebook, I put the date ranges on the cover, and file it in the cabinet. I have a stack of them that I refer back to, representing the last decade of boring daily work. (I just need to find the date of when I worked on something to find it in the notebooks, which I can usually figure out from email archive.) It's not a perfect system, but it doesn't require much in the way of overhead. My pencils are the cheap plastic 'stacking lead' type that I can get twelve for a dollar, 'cause I tend to lose pencils and pens easily, and I hate ballpoint pens.

    I've toyed with using the laptop during meetings and to keep notes during the day, but it seems the tool gets in the way of the task. I can type faster than I can write, but I can't easily diagram or sketch on the laptop. (Maybe I'll try again after another generation or two of tablet PCs.)

    For important meetings or when I need to share my notes, I generally type them up in my email program. I rely heavily on my email archive for any electronic copies.

  • A decent notebook and a Parker Flighter 45 (fountain pen) have served me well for many years 🙂

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