Notes are everywhere.
They surround us at pivotal moments in all phases of our work, from research to inspiration. They come in many forms: addresses, appointments, confirmations, epiphanies, equations, ideas, quotes, lists, transactions, and visual diagrams.
They are transferred across all manner of media. They fill up scraps of papers, they’re jotted down on Post-it Notes, etched along the margins of published books, scrawled into beautiful leather bound notebooks, captured with audio recordings, and jotted into laptops and mobile devices.
At best, they look like this:
Notetaking made awesome. Get a peek inside @BBC_NEWCASTLE's Nick Barnes' game notes: http://t.co/4TR0PcwwuV pic.twitter.com/miouGDuMcT
— Adobe (@Adobe) July 21, 2015
Yet, at their out-of-control worst, they can look (and feel) like this:
Note-taking is an incredibly personal, profound, and individual skill. It’s been practiced almost as long as we’ve been able to verbally communicate, from pigment daubed on cave walls through clay and papyrus, ink and printing press, and now in digital form.
While the medium has evolved, the message remains the same. What we can glean from our intimate scribbles forms the foundation for all our brilliant ideas and helps create a framework for understanding all we set out to accomplish. For proof, one needs only glance at the long and storied list of some of our most prolific note-takers: Pliny the Elder, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, John Lennon, Leonardo Da Vinci, Henry Miller, Kurt Cobain, Truman Capote, and Albert Einstein.
The fundamentals of note-taking are taught early in childhood education and further utilized in collegiate and professional settings, but their utility accelerates when the process advances beyond test preparation or perpetuating silos of private knowledge. Instead, notes should fuel our ideas and accelerate our thoughts into published books, research papers, business projects, or your most audacious creative ambitions.
With the right understanding of your goals, one of these systems can help get you there.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at a selection of note-taking methods and styles. From commonplace to the Cornell Method, we’ll explore their role in our daily life, talk with people who embrace particular models of note-taking, and help you see how they can impact your life and work.
What’s your note style? Share your story in the comments or via Twitter. We will publish our favorites throughout the month.
What's your note-taking style? Commonplace, Cornell, outline, mind map? Share your style & we may feature it in upcoming series on our blog!
— evernote (@evernote) February 10, 2016