How do you take notes? Here's my list of techniques in order of preference using a heuristic which is some function of efficiency, persistence, and privacy:

  • Full-finger-typing on a regular-size keyboard
  • Writing with a pen/pencil on paper
  • Thumb-typing on a small QWERTY keyboard
  • Stylus recognition on a touchscreen
  • Voice notes
  • Scoring the flesh of my forearm in Morse Code with a rusty Bowie knife
  • Typing with one thumb on my phone's number keypad

Which one do you use? Guess which one I use...

§491 · August 21, 2008 · Life, Questions · Tags: · [Print]

6 Comments to “Taking Notes”

  1. Mauriat says:

    My problem with taking notes is that most electronic methods are too linear. (The stylus is not really practical and knives, well, I might run out of workspace.) I find that I take almost 95% of all my notes on unlined white paper. I purchased a spiral bound drawing pad (8×11) with heavy white paper (so I can use thick pens on both sides). I knows it is expensive and I admit the eventual translating/copying to electronic format is cumbersome but it is the least inhibiting method for me to take notes.

  2. Rob says:

    I used to carry a Palm III – years ago – but it was too bulky and too slow to write on. Now I carry a little telescoping pen in my pocket with a 4½” x 3¼” notebook. Then the notes later go into a wiki, blog, text file or whatever. The Nokie E51 I have can also take notes and it’s not too bad with guessing words. It also does voice recording but I’ve found that voice isn’t a great way for keeping information.

  3. Yeah, my Motorola KRZR isn’t bad at guessing words either, but this is what happened when I simply trusted it while walking to work this morning (I should have stopped I guess and double-checked the screen in the daylight… or just not micro-blogged). Funny but changing one word makes that sounds like complete gibberish (this is what I meant to type).

  4. Phil says:

    I often take notes with my stylus in Windows Journal on my HP tablet PC. Sometimes I take notes in MS Word. I also sometimes take notes with a combination of the keyboard and stylus if I am using this particular classroom software that my college uses for some of its classes.

  5. Shelley says:

    Pen and paper. Actually I keep a “notes” notebook by my computer with a favorite gel ink pen.

    And when I’m not taking notes, I doodle.

  6. Steve Ryner says:

    I keep a running “diary” of my work notes in one set of files, and a personal journal in another set. They used to be the same files but that was just too messy 😀 I actually use a different editor for each set of notes so I don’t get them mixed up. The advantage of electronic notes is I can paste in source code, IM chats, mail, screenshots, etc. And I can search them months or years later.

    I use scraps of paper for daily “to do” lists and notes as I work, since it’s less distracting to scribble down an immediate thought than switching contexts from an IDE.

    I use a notebook and pen for meetings and to keep longer-lived “to do” lists. Hauling a laptop into a meeting is just bad form IMHO.

    I’ve been tempted to try to take notes while walking, driving, riding the train, etc. but no… phones do NOT WORK FOR NOTES 🙂