Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (2024)

minute read ● December 11, 2023

Learn about note taking strategies that improve your retention of information and productivity.

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (1)

As a writer, maintaining productivity is essential for achieving success, and note-taking is one of the most impactful tools in your toolbox. By capturing important information and ideas in a structured manner, you can enhance your creativity, increase your study skills, and boost your overall productivity.

In this article, we will explore different methods of note-taking and the benefits of each note-taking style:

Different Note Taking Methods

Note taking comes in many forms. From perfectly written notes in calligraphy to a million post-it notes on the wall, everybody has a way that works best for them.

With hundreds of different opinions and styles, here's the truth: the best way to take notes is the way that works for you.

Everybody has a different way they learn, so read below about each method to organize your notes, try them out, and see which one works best for you!

The Cornell Notes Method

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (2)

The Cornell note-taking method is a systematic approach that helps you capture key ideas, summarize information, and reflect on the material.

To use this method, divide your page into three sections: the cue column, the notes column, and the summary section. During a lecture or while reading, jot down the main ideas and keywords in the notes column. Later, use the cue column to write down questions or keywords that will help you recall the information. Finally, in the summary section, summarize the main points of the lecture or reading.

The Cornell method encourages active engagement and helps you review and revise your notes efficiently.

Outlining Method

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (3)

One of the most common forms of note styles, outlining is a structured way of note taking that uses a hierarchical format to organize information.

Start with a primary topic or idea, then list supporting points and sub-points beneath it. This method allows you to see the relationships between ideas and helps create a logical structure for your notes. Apps such as Breveto can automatically show your entire document outline from your header structure.

Outlining is particularly useful when dealing with complex subjects or when you need to create an outline for a writing project. You can easily expand or collapse sections of your outline as needed, making it a flexible and efficient method for organizing your thoughts.

Mind Mapping

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (4)

Mind mapping is a visual method of note taking that allows you to brainstorm ideas, make connections, and explore different perspectives.

Start by writing down the main topic or concept in the center of the page and then branch out with related ideas. Use colors, symbols, and images to enhance your mind map and make it visually appealing.

Mind mapping stimulates creativity and helps you see the big picture while also focusing on the details. It is a versatile spiderweb that can be used for brainstorming, planning, problem-solving, and connecting information.

The Concept Map Method

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (5)

Similar to mind mapping, the concept map method helps you visually represent relationships between ideas and concepts. However, concept maps are more structured and hierarchical, similar to tree branches.

Start with a main idea or concept, and then connect related ideas with lines or arrows. Use different shapes, colors, and labels to differentiate between different types of relationships.

Concept maps are especially useful for understanding complex concepts, analyzing theories, and studying subjects that involve interconnected ideas. You can easily grasp the relationships of different information.

The Box Method

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (6)

The box method is an approach to organizing information by creating boxes or designated sections for specific concepts or topics. Each box represents a distinct idea, allowing for a clear and visually structured layout.

This method is particularly useful for people who benefit from visual notes or struggle with linear note-taking. By compartmentalizing information into separate boxes, users can easily identify and recall key points, relationships, and dependencies.

The Importance of Note Taking Strategies

Taking notes is not just jotting down random thoughts or snippets of information. It is about actively engaging with the material, extracting key points, and organizing them in a way that makes sense to you.

When you have a clear and organized record of your thoughts and research, you can easily refer back to it whenever needed, saving valuable time and effort.

Experiment with different types of note taking to find the one that works best for you.

The Benefits of Taking Organized Notes

Enhanced Creativity

When you focus on taking notes, you are fully engaged with the material at hand. This deep level of engagement can spark new ideas, connections, and insights that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Practice makes perfect. By getting better at staying organized, you can tap into your creative potential and produce more innovative work.

Streamlined Thought Process

Note organization helps streamline your thought process by providing a structured framework for organizing ideas and information.

This clarity of thought allows you to develop a coherent narrative or argument in your writing. By having a clear roadmap of your ideas, you can navigate through your writing projects more efficiently and produce high-quality work.

Effective Notetaking

When you have a well-organized and easily accessible repository of notes, you can save time searching for information or trying to remember important details.

Using the best note taking methods can also help you avoid the trap of information overload. By capturing only the essential information, you can prioritize your tasks and focus on what truly matters. This targeted approach to note taking enables you to stay on track, meet deadlines, and accomplish more in less time.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, organized note taking is an invaluable skill for writers. It allows you to stay organized, enhance your creativity, streamline your thought process, and boost your overall productivity.

The best note taking method is up to personal preference, with different types of note taking styles for those who are visual learners versus those who like their blocks of information, and more.

The 5 methods of note-taking included the Cornell method, the box method, the outline method, the concept map and mind mapping method.

Happy note taking!

Note Taking Methods that Work: How to Stay Organized and Productive (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 6274

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.