On Taking Notes
Earlier this year, Tim Ferriss interviewed one of my favorite authors—Gretchen Rubin—on his podcast. One of the best parts of the conversation focused on Rubin's notetaking system. She takes notes to help her recall, find, and compile the information she reads in books, articles, and academic studies. Rubin organizes her notes in single a Word document.
Like Rubin, I read one to two books a week (sometimes more), along with articles. For the last couple of months, I've been thinking about how I can improve my note-taking system because I love taking notes. However, most of my reading notes and quotes are spread out across multiple journals. That makes it challenging to find the information I want to include in a blog post or larger writing projects. So listening to Rubin's thoughts on note taking came at the perfect time!
Rather than using a single Word document like Rubin, I decided to create a new system.
Here’s what it looks like:
1. When I' reading a book, I add a sticky note to the page where I've found useful information. I also keep a pencil with me while I'm reading and put a small star or heart near a passage I love. I don't add extensive notes to the margins because I usually give my books away. Lightly starring a passage, or adding a sticky note to the page, allows me to reference it quickly. Before I give the book away, I erase the stars and hearts.
2. While I'm reading, I like to keep a notebook nearby to make notes about the material.
3. After I'm done reading a book, I open Evernote. I have a folder called "readings" in Evernote. Within the readings folder, each book has a dedicated file for my notes and quotes. Research has shown that you're more apt to retain information if you hand write quotes, but typing is much quicker! Also, Evernote has a fantastic tagging and search system which makes finding information easy.
Are you a note taker? I’d love to hear about your process in the comments section!
1. Evernote is amazing! Check it out.