An opportunity to take notes always comes up in life. Whether taking better notes during a sermon, paying better attention in class, saving links to read later, or listening to your significant other when creating a shopping list. With good notes, multitasking is easy.
Thinking of how to be more prepared and efficient to take good notes can instantly rev our systems and refuel our ability to take better notes.
Make sure that you are prepared for the task at hand. It’s essential to choose the right kind of pen or pencil, notepad, or mobile app when taking notes.
Don’t try to transcribe.
The goal of good note-taking is not to create a verbatim record of everything the speaker says. If you’re recording the session, there’s no reason you can’t go back and listen to it again (or even transcribe it) later.
A more helpful note approach is summarizing the key points and paying attention to the message’s inherent structure. Focusing on the main points will also allow you to note impactful insights, practical applications, and follow-up questions.
Write down related information.
Other resources may likely be referenced. Jot some of these down as you listen to the presenter—this will make it easier for you to return to your notes later and dig into other resources that may shed more light on the topics.
Look up occasionally.
When taking notes, it’s easy to get sucked into the actual writing and forget to look up from time to time. It allows you to pause and take a step back from your writing. In doing this, you may find that you’re able to make new connections, glean new insights, and ponder new applications related to the information as you focus on simply listening to the speaker.
Note the date and speaker.
Having a date and name to associate with the notes can be helpful reminders when looking back through your notes at a later time.
Write a one-sentence summary.
Challenging yourself to sum the notes into a thesis can be a great way to solidify your understanding of the topic.