Irrespective of whether you are a student or you are working in any firm or organisation, in order to arrange all that you have to do, you will have to take notes. Notes are important for you to keep a record of all the new things that you learn so that you will be in a position to apply them as and when required. In the classroom, notes are your means of remembering all that the teacher has taught so that you can recall the same when you revise your lessons. In any business meeting, notes are what let you compile the minutes of the meeting and act on them.
Having understood the importance of note-taking, the next major thing in this regard is the fact that you will not be in a position to write down complete sentences when taking notes. Thus, you will not just have to practise writing down fast, but you must also prepare to write in shorthand.
This itself may look like a Herculean task for many people. To help you through it, this article explores 10 tips that will enhance your note-taking skills, and thereby improve your overall productivity.
1. Eliminate Distractions
You cannot take proper notes if you are distracted by the noise from the streets or by the flickering light. As much as possible, try to get your surroundings to become distraction-free before you sit down to jot notes. This will not just ensure better concentration but will also make sure that you are able to do better justice to your job.
2. Be Organised
Start taking notes on a fresh page or document and make sure that you mention the date in the same. Once the session is over, make sure that you write down headings for the different sections. This will ensure that you are able to find the correct information as and when you need them.
In case you are taking down your notes on paper, make it a point to number your pages well.
3. Focus On Important Content
Understand that notes are for jotting down only what is important and make conscious efforts to ensure that you do not cramp your notes with too much of information at a go. When the speaker uses phrases like 'in conclusion' or 'write it down', take that as a cue to understand that what is being spoken is of utmost importance and make it a point to include the same in your notes.
4. Feel Free To Ask Questions
As you listen and write, make it a point to remember the questions that you would like to ask the speaker at the end of the session. This will not just help you remain aware of the gaps in understanding but will also pave the path for you to make notes that are of far superior quality.
5. Take Notes Digitally
These days there are a number of note-taking templates that are available online and you can choose any one of those for your use. That will ensure that you save out on time while taking notes. You may either choose to take notes on a laptop or a tablet. Taking notes on the tablet will reduce the distractions whereas typing will be easier on a tablet.
6. Visual Representation
Try to include drawings, pie charts and bar graphs in your notes. Doctors have confirmed that the human brain is such that we tend to retain things better when they are expressed in visual form. Hence, it will be a good idea to include the same in your notes as well.
7. Think What You Write
Most people make the mistake of merely jotting down all that they hear. Doing so often makes the notes incomprehensible. Do not attempt such blunt transcription. Rather listen to what the speaker is saying and try to process the same before you pen it down. This will ensure that what you write makes logical sense and can be understood by the person reading the same.
8. Use Multicolor Pens
This is for people who need to take notes on pen and paper. We understand that while taking notes there might be a lot of information that you may have to jot down and there may not be enough time for you to make neat margins, use subheadings and bullets and all of that.
In such a situation, the easiest way to maintain demarcations as you write would be by using different coloured pens. You may even choose to use highlighters as well.
This point is of special significance when the notes that you have to take are of technical nature (irrespective of whether it is a classroom or a boardroom). By indulging in appropriate mapping procedures, the readability of your notes increases by leaps and bounds.
Most of the errors that occur in the course of note-taking are the ones that can be dealt with by proofreading. Doing so not only removes errors but also makes the information in the notes more thorough. Thus, irrespective of whether it is your first draft or the final one, make sure that you go through your notes first before allowing anyone else to read the same.
With the aforementioned tips in place, you are now armed to master the art of note-making. Indeed, like any other art, this is something that can be improved with practise. Thus, the more notes you take, the better you will get at it. We hope the tips provided by us will aid you in this journey and make you better at this essential career skill.