I wish my office clutter would disappear with the same consistency as my post- it notes do. Seriously, how often do you lose your notes? Have you ever lost phone numbers, to-do lists, brainstormed ideas? I sure have. Even my grocery lists vanish in my purse with alarming frequency. And what do you do with those passwords that some sites create for you to use and don’t let you change them? So, I’ve decided to learn more about different ways to take notes and, hopefully, keep them. Here are a few ideas and resources on the subject of note-taking:
3"x5" index cards. I get them in different colors for various categories of notes. I use them to create a bank of interesting ideas for my future projects. I keep all my cards in a simple plastic card file. If I need an idea to work on, I flip through the cards. This system can also be used to create flashcards and mnemonics for studying. It’s portable and easy to use.
Dream boards. A dream board is really a collection of images that represent something you want to attain in your life. You list your goals, create mind maps, clip motivational images from magazines, do your own sketches and attach them to a poster board. Choose a spot for your dream board where you can see it often. Look at it, internalize it and see your desires manifest. You can use the same idea to create a learning board for the projects you work on or the most challenging concepts you need to memorize. Make your learning board visually stimulating to boost your creativity and aid your memory.
Paper place mats. Forget the napkins, they are not very good to write on anyways. Use the paper place mats instead. We adopted this method of note-taking when my husband and I were having a discussion while waiting for our food in a restaurant one day: he took his place mat, turned it over and started making a list. How about organizing a brainstorming lunch session where people can write on a paper tablecloth while munching on something? I think it’s more fun than writing on a legal pad. Besides, new ways of doing things provide good stimulation for the brain.
For a collection of web note-taking resources, check out Fifty Ways to Take Notes from Solution Watch.
You can design your own customized note-taking sheets at http://www.eleven21.com/notetaker/ or generate your post-it notes at http://www.signgenerator.org/parody/post-it-notes/.
By the way, I started using my cell phone to text message my grocery lists (this way I can send them to my husband for execution).