When was the last time you left a meeting or a Time Management Workshop, sat down at your desk and went through your notes and got a clear picture of what your next steps should be? Taking notes in an effective and productive way, is not only fun but can also boost our productivity. Give your notes a little love and a little time, because they are essentially the foundation for all the great inventions and ideas we see in this world today.
First and foremost, you need to find a note-taking system and technique that is the most effective and works best for you. This can include lists, brainstorms, or even spider diagrams. It is a useful tool to be able to discover which method suits you the best, because it will then help keep your mind engaged with the notes. It’s also important to find the method through which your brain will remember the most. Whether you’re a digital Productivity Ninja and remember more when you type and see it on a screen, or whether you appreciate pen & paper.
Section off your notes, so that you do not confuse them with one another and avoid being left feeling disorganized. This is the part where you get to be very free and creative with your thoughts, in the ideas section of your notes. It is essential for creativity, being able to allow your stream of consciousness to have some form of outlet, as well as providing a platform that you can brainstorm your ideas onto.
Secondly, one should always have a part in their notes where they can be a bit more strategic with turning free flowing ideas, into a reality. Use it for developing a plan, and make sure to keep it organised and clear enough to understand for a future action plan. The quality of your plan will be equivalent to how clearly you are able to understand your notes, so keep it simple.
The general hope is to be able to use the notes from both the plans and ideas, to eventually turn them into achievable tasks. This part of your notes are heavily dependent on how good your ideas and planning section is. Create notes for both personal and work-related tasks, it does not necessarily have to be exclusive to one or the other, since this way you will be in the loop with all the upcoming tasks you have to tackle, which helps to avoid any clashes.
Van Restorff Effect
Also known as the isolation effect, this is the idea that by segregating a piece of information and presenting it differently from the rest of the notes, the effects result in the memory of that particular part being improved. Therefore, in note-taking, this can prove to be beneficial as a technique applied to highlight the most significant information, whether that be underlining the key ideas or using a highlighter for the notes. Only use it for certain information, information which is highly important to be retained.
How do you structure your notes? Share your pictures with us @thinkproductive
Even though you’re a master at taking notes now, are you still worried about not having enough hours in the day to get everything done? Feel like your team needs a productivity boost for the upcoming new year? Check out our Time Management Workshops and turn your team into Productivity Ninjas.
By Rosie To