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Be more productive by taking better notes

5f16b9055acd27c725c0e353c421c158?s=47 Adam Brett
November 08, 2013

Be more productive by taking better notes

We all have to take notes, and if you’re like most people you were probably never taught how to take effective notes in school or university. Perhaps you feel like your notes should be of a higher quality or that you should be taking more notes, more often.

The main reason people seem to give for not taking more notes is not a lack of something to note, but a lack of confidence in their notes or a feeling that their notes aren’t that useful, which is most likely due to little or no organisation or structure. Effective notes should enable you to be more productive by allowing you to completely dump the topic at hand from your head with absolute confidence that you’ll be able to find anything you need to know at a moments notice, and recall it as if you’d only just written it down, freeing your brain to solve more important problems.

In this session I’ll teach you how to improve every aspect of your note-taking, starting with the physics behind paper and pen selection, including the different types available and why you should choose certain ones. The different types of notes, their individual techniques, and where and when they should be used (including a few you probably won’t have seen before).

Finally, I’ll show you how to organise your notes in such a way you’ll never lose anything again, renewing your confidence in your notes and ultimately increasing your productivity by allowing you to free up your brain power for problem solving and product building, rather than data retention.

5f16b9055acd27c725c0e353c421c158?s=128

Adam Brett

November 08, 2013
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Transcript

  1. BE MORE PRODUCTIVE BY TAKING BETTER NOTES Codeconnex Maastricht -

    November 2013 Adam Brett
  2. How can you be more productive by taking better notes

  3. None
  4. Your app makes me fat http://bit.ly/16svn7q

  5. Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and

    Cognition in Consumer Decision Making http://bit.ly/16py3rA BABA SHIV, ALEXANDER FEDORIKHIN (1999)
  6. Group A Group B Memorise these 2 numbers... ! 6,

    4 Memorise these 7 numbers... ! 1, 6, 5, 8, 9, 2, 1 Now would you like a snack? Now would you like a snack?
  7. Group A Group B Memorize these 2 numbers... ! 6,

    4 Memorize these 7 numbers... ! 1, 6, 5, 8, 9, 2, 1
  8. The participants who memorised the seven-digit number were nearly 50%

    more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.
  9. This is known as Ego Depletion

  10. Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower

    draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up. http://bit.ly/177Fkeb
  11. Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower

    draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up. Single
  12. This is the same single limited pool as used by

    cognitive processing
  13. None
  14. How can we avoid depleting our cognitive resources?

  15. None
  16. Writing things down means we don’t have to use our

    limited resources remembering them.
  17. This means you can get more done with less

  18. How do you take better notes?

  19. Three Components • Tools (pens, paper, etc) ! • Technique

    (lists, mind-maps, wireframes, etc) ! • Organisation (how you find stuff)
  20. TOOLS

  21. Three main types of pens • Ballpoint • Rollerball •

    Fountain Pen
  22. Pens work by friction

  23. Dragging a pen across the page deposits ink

  24. More friction = slower writing Less friction = faster note

    taking
  25. Ballpoint • Rugged • Cheap • Thick Ink • Disposable

    • Can be stressing
  26. Gel Rollerball • Rugged • Cheap(ish) • Thinner Ink •

    Faster Writing
  27. Fountain Pen • Makes a statement • Refillable • Slow

    • Expensive
  28. Use a Gel Roller Ball

  29. Pen Addict http://penaddict.com/ http://5by5.tv/penaddict https://twitter.com/Pen_Addict

  30. Paper

  31. Three Main Types of Note Paper • Notebooks • Notepads

    • Index cards
  32. Note Books Pros Cons Lie Flat Ring Bound Cheap Archivable

    Long or short form Book bound Expensive Can’t be re-ordered
  33. Note Pads Pros Cons Loose Leaf Can be re-ordered Very

    Cheap Long or short form Disposable Requires binders for archiving More suited to long form
  34. Index Cards Pros Cons Cheap(ish) Can be re-ordered Disposable Harder

    to archive Not good for long form notes Easier to lose and misplace
  35. Make sure the page is thick enough to stop your

    chosen ink bleeding through
  36. Make sure the texture of the page won’t cause your

    ink to run
  37. Blank Paper Pros Cons Flexibility Freedom Usually purpose specific No

    structure
  38. Ruled Paper Pros Cons Good for text Lots of styles

    Designed for pen Limited Flexibility
  39. Squared (Graph) Paper Pros Cons Good for text Good for

    technical drawing Monospaced Can look busy
  40. Dotted Paper Pros Cons Good for text Good for technical

    drawing Monospaced Not as structured as squared or ruled
  41. Use a notebook day to day Use squared or dotted

    paper 80 gsm is good for most inks
  42. TECHNIQUES

  43. Linear Linear notes are all about long form. You just

    write in paragraphs and sentences. It’s the simplest form of note-taking It will probably be familiar to you already But also the hardest to navigate
  44. Lists • List are fairly obvious • Everyone should be

    familiar with them • Could be lists of relevant points • Lists of things to do you can check off • Very Simple • To the point • Represent complex ideas succinctly
  45. Outline Method 1. First level topic/idea A. Each level relates

    to parent • Add indents to increase specificity 2. Can use bullets/numbers/whatever 3. Uses organisational pattern • Based on space indentation 4. Pros • Good for related content 5. Cons • Requires more thought up-front
  46. Mindmap Visual outline Related hierarchies Start at centre Build around

    keywords Pros Grows organically Free flowing Thought process Cons Short form only
  47. Minutes 08 November 2013 Names of people present Go clockwise

    around the table Start at your immediate left Helps you learn/remember names ! Topics go on the hard left • Notes and decisions are bullets ! Person Specific • (Preface) points with a name
  48. Fill in afterwards ! Short ! Jogs memory ! Summarises

    notes to right Write as you go ! Long form notes go on the right-hand side ! Full Details ! • Write in sentences • add bullet points • or use full paragraphs ! Pro - Good for learning or memorising ! Con - Convoluted, specific to learning The Cornell Method
  49. Columns and headings Reduces writing Hard to learn Facts and

    relationships Headings topics to be covered Relevant information Need topics upfront Notes go under each topic Easy review The Charting Method How Pros Cons When
  50. Box Method • Take your notes as normal • Keep

    track of important points • Quickly see key output • Keep Post-It on current page • Move back to first when finished Decisions, actions, outcomes go on the Post-It
  51. Dash Plus (a type of list) Action Item (Not Done)

    Action Item (Done) Waiting (i.e. for another action) Delegated Data Point Moved to another list http://bit.ly/1czpkpE
  52. Action Item (Not Done) Action Item (Done) Waiting (i.e. for

    another action) Delegated Data Point Moved to another list http://bit.ly/1czpkpE Dash Plus (a type of list)
  53. Dash Plus (a type of list) Action Item (Not Done)

    Action Item (Done) Waiting (i.e. for another action) Delegated Data Point Moved to another list http://bit.ly/1czpkpE
  54. Sketchnotes 1 CREATE A TITLE 2 HAVE A FLOW Could

    use numbers (like this) or maybe swimlanes… ADD ICONS OR DRAWINGS 3 HAVE FUN WITH FONTS 4 v /-. 5 5 PROS Cons 6 FLUID ENGAGING FUN SCARY NEEDS PRACTICE I CAN’T DRAW! CHAOTIC TAKES TIME
  55. ORGANISATION

  56. Key To Everything

  57. You shouldn’t have to think about how you organise your

    notes
  58. You shouldn’t have to spend any time organising or arranging

    your notes
  59. Existing Systems

  60. GTD

  61. Bullet Journal

  62. Rapid Logging

  63. Anything you write down is an “Entry”.

  64. Group “Entries” into “Topics” when you get a collection that

    are related.
  65. If an entry doesn’t have a topic yet, just write

    todays date and group unrelated items there.
  66. More complexity = more effort. Make everything a bullet point.

  67. Square bullets for actions Circle bullets for events (meetings) Solid

    bullets for notes
  68. Tick it when you’re done

  69. Solid dot bullets are non-actionable entries

  70. Add signifiers to entries to give additional context.

  71. Write page numbers in the bottom left

  72. If you run out of space, turn to the next

    two page spread.
  73. Your index should be on the first page of your

    notebook. Index ! November 4
 Books to read 5, 21
 Renovations / Budget 10 - 14, 19 / Contractors 15 - 16 / Ideas 17 - 18
  74. My System

  75. Mishmash of other people’s systems

  76. Note = Discrete piece of information Entry = Collection of

    notes
  77. Rapid Logging

  78. Use whatever technique best suits the notes you’re taking

  79. Most of the time, that’s lists
 (I like the bullet

    journal style bullets/circles/squares)
  80. Every page should have a margin

  81. Entry Title 08 November 2013 An Event Note A Task

    Note A Task Note Something I want to remember Every new entry should be titled and dated
  82. Indexing is critical

  83. Number every two page spread Entry Title 08 November 2013

    An Event Note A Task Note A Task Note 19
  84. Divide each page into 4 sections A B C D

  85. This is a fictitious line (Don’t actually draw it)

  86. You can now reference notes by section 17A 17B 17C

    17D
  87. Index ! November 4A
 Books to read 5B, 21D
 Renovations

    / Budget 10C - 14A, 19A / Contractors 15D - 16C / Ideas 17A - 18B Leave room for an index on the first page ! Index by section as well as number
  88. Entry Title 08 November 2013 An Event Note A Task

    Note A Task Note Something I want to remember Use arrows to link related notes <- 17A 22C -> 17A 22C
  89. Week planner for time sensitive tasks November 2013 A Task

    Note 19 An Event Note Mon 04 Tue 05 Wed 06 Thur 07 Fri 08 Sat 09 Sun 10 8.20 Flight to CCNXX 11.40 My Talk 15.20 Flight Home CodeConnexx Today CodeConnexx 16.00 Work Hand-over A Task Note
  90. November 2013 1 4 5 6 7 8 11 12

    13 14 15 19 Month planner for the future 18 19 20 21 22 25 26 27 28 29 F
 M - 10.00 Weekly Meeting
 T
 W - 8.20 Flight for CCNXX
 T - 1.9 Live Release
 F
 M - 10.00 Weekly Meeting
 T
 W
 T - 12.00 Supplier Meeting
 F M - 10.00 Weekly Meeting
 T
 W
 T
 F - 1.10 Dev Freeze
 M - 10.00 Weekly Meeting
 T
 W - New Project Briefing
 T
 F
  91. Add Post-It Tabs to mark your monthly calendar, weekly planner,

    and next blank page
  92. Task Migration

  93. Don’t - It’s a waste of time

  94. If you turn away from a page with unfinished tasks,

    add a Post-It page marker. Entry Title 08 November 2013 An Event Note A Task Note A Task Note Something I want to remember 19
  95. As you add more, proximity to the centre indicates the

    age of the task Entry Title 08 November 2013 An Event Note A Task Note A Task Note Something I want to remember 19
  96. Remove markers as you complete the tasks on the page


    (they can be re-used) Entry Title 08 November 2013 An Event Note A Task Note A Task Note Something I want to remember 19
  97. Store spare Post-It Notes, Tabs, and Page Markers in the

    back of your notebook.
  98. Key Tips

  99. Write your contact details on the inside front cover

  100. Go for a medium size notebook

  101. Start a new book every January

  102. Write the date the book starts on the side

  103. Experiment and find what works for you

  104. Questions? https://joind.in/9609 @sixdaysad http://adamcod.es