Best Practices for Taking Notes | Tips and Tricks

Everybody knows how important it is to take notes and pay attention during class. The best students, and the most prominent people around, will tell you that this is more important than cramming like crazy before a test. The idea is that when you are in front of the teacher or actually receiving the information in a direct way, for instance, when you are in the museum that you will later write or talk about, you are receiving direct stimuli and inspiration. These stimuli and inspiration can only be had when you are there having the experience of which you will later have to record. Nothing can beat that, but your conscious mind cannot remember every single detail that your body sensed. The mind retains only a part of all the input that the body sends it, and then the mind itself only leaves a very minimal part of it available for the conscious mind to use. This is a matter of energy saving and focus, of course, since it would be rather inefficient to make your mind remember every single word and every single image that it has ever seen and sensed. While this is a mechanism that nature devised to protect us, sometimes we do need to remember many more details than our natural and most savage state would allow us to capture. It, therefore, becomes apparent that we need to learn how to take notes in the most efficient way and stick to best practices for taking notes.

best practices for taking notes

Tips and Tricks for Best Practices for Taking Notes

Now, there are several best practices for taking notes that will improve your habits. However, nothing can replace good old “just focus and pay attention”, because, although you may not believe it, focusing itself, which implies paying attention with lots of concentration and staving off most of the distractions during most of the duration of whatever activity you are trying to take your notes from, will leave an incredible amount of information inside your head that is irreplaceable by any manual methods that you might learn. But we can still further enhance these abilities and mental actions with manual steps that will enable you to make the most of the situation in which many details need to be taken down for later use. After all, what good is a note if it cannot be properly accessed or used later? This brings us to one of our main points, and it is one that none of the interested readers should disregard because it is so important that everything else may rely on it. If you get it wrong, then it does not matter how good of a note taker you may be, because notes are only as good as what you can get from them until after you have taken them. If you remember things in your head, then that is a separate source of information from the notes themselves. So, remember this forever: your notes need to be absolutely intelligible and hopefully have some degree of order.

When taking notes manually, the single best method that this author knows of from personal experience and countless testimonials that have been transmitted to him through the years from other people with extensive experience in professional fields that have the need of intensive taking of notes is to adopt some kind of shorthand method. The most famous system is called Pitman Shorthand, and it is a classic for secretaries of the old school. It may seem dazzling and overwhelming at first but once you get the gist of it, you will be able to take down precise notes of conversations going on at lightning speed for your hand will be as fast, if not faster, than the speakers themselves. However, this method of note taking is more suitable when taking down dictations. Although it is made for this, we can still use it to take quick note of our own thoughts as they fly by at incredible speeds that we often associate with dramatic events or phenomena in nature.

Apart from the Pitman Shorthand method, there are other several tools and advice that may be had in order to improve the quality of the notes taken or the energy used to take said notes. These are varied and have to be taken into consideration while not forgetting the character and particular abilities of the person who intends to use them. That is to say, not every system and method are suitable for every single person. It is like driving a car or wearing a set of clothes: at the end of the day, it depends on the person.

If you want to equip yourself properly for intense and professional note-taking, you do not necessarily need to spend a lot of money, but you do need to be committed to it. Some equipment and books that might come in handy to become a better taker of notes are the good old hand recorder of voice, the stylus that has been optimized for faster writing and maximum comfort of the hand and an appropriate booklet that feels rather comfortable in your hand and will not easily slip away. Last but not least, as we mentioned before, the Pitman Shorthand method is of the essence when it comes to becoming the best of the best in developing this very special ability. You should, then, purchase a good edition of a book that teaches Pitman Shorthand in a deep and thorough way so that when you finish it and its best practices for taking notes exercise, you are already an expert user and applier of the lessons that it has taught you.

In short, remember that the mind itself and the focus it can provide you with, constitutes of the most important tool that you will ever find. Learn to concentrate and to store the most important ideas in the front of your mind and you will have already won half of the battle. Then, we also discussed the importance of adopting methods and system such as the Pitman Shorthand. Finally, we also discussed small pieces of equipment that will greatly aid those who want to become better at your best practices for taking notes. And remember, orderly notes that reflect clarity go a long way, you cannot get anything from notes that cannot be understood!

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