Lifehacker on note-taking methods

Lifehacker has a nice post on note-taking methods.

A few additions:

What you take notes with can make all the difference. Whether it’s a fountain pen, software, or a pencil, experiment but go with what makes you take notes, not necessarily what’s cool.

Remember that the process of note taking has as much value as reading the notes later. In fact, for me, it’s more so. I have numerous notebooks from work that are filled with notes that were never referenced. Just taking them kept me engaged sufficiently to be successful.

Be careful with recording. It’s just so easy to hit the record button instead of taking notes, but be sure you have both the time and the personality type to make use of the recordings. For me, nothing, but nothing cures insomnia faster than a recorded lecture, and I barely have time for meetings or classes let alone twice the time – once for recording, once for review.

My last piece of advice is to never forget that you often have a choice in instructors (in a university setting, anyway), and if you find yourself struggling to take decent notes during class it may be a sign that you need a different teacher.  I’ve had some that hopped around so much it was impossible to keep up or make sensible notes of what they were trying to cover, and invariably that translated to frustration in doing assignments & exams later. School’s hard & expensive enough without begging for extra trouble, and don’t be afraid to shift your schedule to get better instructors.

New planner format from Moleskine

Moleskine has a new planner format: Panoramic. I’m not sure it really lives up to the term ‘panoramic’, but it’s a neat idea. I’m probably going to be shopping for a new planner, as I use them for tracking workout data and as fall grows near I may head to the gym again.

What I’d like to see is a planner-style book, but designed more as a log than as a planner. I don’t know how many people use planners for recording what has happened rather than what is going to happen, but I know I do. I record my hours at work, my weight, and other useful tidbits. I know I could just use a regular notebook, but have a page/spot devoted to each day puts a little pressure on keeping up the record.

Anyway, there would be no time slots, and weekend days would be the same size as weekdays. Currently I’m using the softcover 1-page per week version, and it works pretty well. I’m on the fence about the notes page that faces the week page. Sometimes I use it, but mostly it lies blank. It would be nice to have that space added to each day.

On late Thank You notes

We’ve all been there. We know we should have sent one a week or a month ago, and we have trouble deciding if it’s just too late.

Heck, these days some folks consider the written Thank You note to be optional if not old-fashioned.

The next time you’re sitting there trying to decide whether it’s been too long to send a note of thanks, keep this story in mind: TellingDad.

What size is the right size?

I just started a new notebook for my journal, and it’s another Moleskine. I know they sometimes have bleed problems (although only when my pens are really, really, wet) and are expensive but I’ve yet to find anything I like better.

For a long time I had been using the pocket size, and I even made a small bookshelf to hang on the wall to store them. It’s a handy size for carrying, and I tended to use fine-point pens with them.

Then last December I ended up using the large size Moleskine, and it was a different experience. I felt like I had  more room. My writing got neater. I actually wrote more.

When I filled that book up I went back to the pocket size, thinking the size advantage was worth it. Boy was I wrong! It drove me crazy – the lines were so short I felt like I was getting maybe 4 or 5 words per line . I quit that book halfway through, and am back to the large.

What size is the right size for you – Moleskine or otherwise?

Have you tried Evernote?

Evernote was mentioned to me by a coworker and fellow blogger who runs innovationtools.com. I’m not fully hooked yet, but it does seem pretty slick.

I can enter a note in a number of places, on number of computers, and Evernote keeps track of it. I can add tags, and organize them. But the sizzle comes with the iPhone features.

When you record a note, it can record your location. then when you return to that location, you can see nearby notes. Great for travel, and reminding yourself that the lovely cafe by the water has lousy food 😉