I'm sure you remember taking notes in school and for some of you that may have been an enjoyable part of the learning process, and for some of you it may have been just boring, so as an adult learning new things and embarking on a new journey of growth, you may have wondered whether you should be taking notes. Yes you should be and I will tell you why...
The first reason why I believe that note taking is vital is because it helps you process information better. Studies have shown that people who take down notes can actually retain more information and I don't mean just facts and dates but actual comprehension. Next time you attend a conference or watch a webinar try taking notes down and then when you're done go tell someone what you learned. You may notice that you can actually explain what the meanings, of those facts they gave you, were and rather than just memorizing dates or numbers, you can recognize their importance.
Notes are great not just for jotting down important information but also your impression of that information. You may write down what the speaker said and add a note of how it applies to you. I'm not lying about the studies ->>> "the result of taking notes is much more than the production of a passive “external” information store, as the note taking action itself is part of the memorization process and results in the creation of a form of “internal” storage (Kiewra, 1987). Furthermore, the taking of notes seems to ease the load on the working memory and thereby helps people resolve complex problems." (Boch, Piolat, 2005, p.104)
Aside from actually retaining the information, your notes help you see the progress of your work. I can look back at the first journal I ever wrote in when I first started looking into starting a business. In those first notes I was jotting down things that today seem absolutely basic but the cool thing is that I know that I know those things, I no longer have to shuffle through pages looking for what "SEO" stands for or how to create a "facebook cover". These are things I can just explain in conversation. I can see where I started and I can see what I still haven't mastered! I know what to focus on when I hit a new plateau in my learning.
The ability to see your progression can help you plan your growth as well. You don't only have to take notes when being taught something. You can write down your goals and the steps it'll take to achieve them. This is especially helpful for work or health goals because you can plan what you need to work on or what you need to learn in order to be able to move on to the next level ( I explain the hierarchy of health steps here.) As you make goals and find out how much you can achieve , you can increase the level of difficulty or the amount of time you spend working toward your goals.
ILT (Invest, Learn, Teach)
For my fellow marketers :) and non-marketers ->>> ILT stands for Invest, Learn, Teach and it is a type of content marketing. Basically, your notes could be making you money. You invest in coaching programs, courses, and books and you learn it and soak it all up. Then you take that information and you teach others. There will always be someone who doesn't know as much as you and who needs to learn what you know. You don't have to be an expert, you just need to know more than them. Having notes is like a list of topics to teach. Each page gives you something new to share with the world. ( I learned this the same way!)
Questions & Quotes
When taking notes make sure you use the 2 Qs ->> Questions and Quotes. Write down quotes you like. Not stuffy and overused cliches but anything that a speaker or author says that you resonate with. If you found it encouraging or wise, someone else may too and you can then share it. Also jot down questions! Whether it is a question you have as you're learning or a question you believe someone else may ask and these notes answer. This helps with increasing your knowledge because you always have more to learn and more to share.
So how should I be taking notes???
Studies have shown that taking notes by hand actually increase your ability to retain information and perform better on conceptual tests (1, 2). Although the actual method of taking note differs. I was taught Cornell Note taking in highschool ( and I hated it sooo much!!!) but it is a rather simple method and it allows you to separate the notes by cues. Personally, I love taking notes in a an Outline. I think its the most visually appealing and easiest way to find the information you were looking for but then again if your course or book is not formulated in this way, you have to figure out the outline and that can take time if you're taking notes as you are learning. It's a great way to re-write notes in a more organized matter. There are several other methods you can try listed here.
If you are used to taking notes then you probably already your own shorthand language but it does help to learn or make up your own ways to shorten your words so that you don't get left behind.
Studycram shared these common shorthand abbreviations:
""&" for and. "#" for number. "$" for dollars. "∴" for therefore. "etc" for etcetera. Another quick method to abbreviate any word in your how to take notes is to skip vowels e.g. "The quick brown fox" becomes "Th qck brwn fx"."
To ensure that your note taking helps you, make sure to go back and read it over, recite it outloud or to someone else (my husband is probably bored of hearing me do this!), and then do a run-through with questions to test your knowledge (sounds like college.).
Note taking can be incredibly impactful. Try it out, let me know in the comments if it helped you. Do you have any awesome tips to share?? :)