The Value of Old-Fashioned, Real-Time Note-taking

The Value of Old-Fashioned, Real-Time Note-taking

Nope, you’re not in school anymore. But note-taking is still an extremely valuable skill to practice on a regular basis!

Well-known avid note-takers include Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, George Lucas, Tim Ferriss, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, J.K. Rowling, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Sandberg, and Aaron Sorkin. So, if you aspire to be like any of the names listed above (or just more successful in your chosen career), it’s time to sharpen those skills!

But why is note-taking so important? Here are a few reasons:

It improves comprehension and recall—When you listen, write, and read something, you’re more likely to understand and remember what was said.

You can refer back to it at any time—We’re all busy and it’s completely normal to forget a detail or need to refer back to “instructions” or notes. On the flip side, emailing your boss time after time to ask something that you could have written down in a meeting could end up hurting your career.

It shows that you respect the person you’re talking to—When you write down what someone says, it shows that you respect them and value their thoughts.

Revisiting your notes later will allow you to engage with the information on a deeper level—During a meeting, it’s easy to focus on the points being made on a surface level, rather than thinking strategically about them and making deeper connections. But when you take notes and then look back at them later, you can do just that. This might allow you to make connections or find solutions to problems that may not have otherwise been found.

Now that you know why note-taking is important, here’s a list of when to take notes at work:

Important Conversations

If you are attending a big meeting or are having an important conversation with your boss, bring a notebook and pen! It’s easy to get absorbed in the meeting or conversation as it’s happening, only to leave and realize that you have a million questions or points discussed that you can’t remember. 

One-On-One Meetings

Regardless of if you’re the boss or an employee, taking notes shows that you are taking your work, and the person’s time, seriously. Bring out that pen and paper when you’re engaging in any one-on-one conversations. And don’t forget to include personal details about the people you talk with—think spouse and kid names, pets, hobbies, hometown, vacations, weekend plans, etc. This will help you to build more meaningful relationships.

Client Meetings

When you’re meeting with a client, there’s no such thing as too many notes. After all, missing something important could put a strain on the relationship. Record details regarding what the client wants and when they want it, as well as important personal details to help strengthen your relationship with them.

Mentorship or Networking Meetings

Time spent with a mentor or networking is valuable! Show the people that you’re with that you value their time by taking notes. This will also provide you with a great framework for follow-up and thank you emails because you will be able to include details from your notes and personal touches that you may have otherwise forgotten. 

Ready to rekindle your habit of notetaking? Make sure you come up with a system for your notes (a notebook, computer file, phone app, etc.) and keep them organized so that you can easily refer to them whenever needed.

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