I wanted to share a quick tip that I’ve been using for years to make my notes (written and typed) more useful.

By nature I am a pretty disorganized note-taker.  When jotting down notes I typically work in a very scattered “mind map” layout.  I find if I try to keep to any sort of outline I tend to need to squeeze more and more notes into a confined space.  What has evolved from this is basically a messy page of notes with all shorts of connecting lines, doodles, etc.

While this fits my brain well it is often difficult to pick out the bits that I need to “take action” on.  Usually my understanding of what I have taken notes on is solid, but things like action items, additional research I need to do and other “meta” information gets lost in the structure - I guess you could call it “not seeing the trees for the forest”

Over time I have developed a short list of standard “glyphs” that I use in my written notes to help these items stand out:

  • (!) - Action item - Something I need to do

  • (N) - Note item - Something I need to document

  • (?) - Research item - Something that needs further research

  • (@) - Contact - Someones contact information

Do you have any note-taking tips?  I’d love to hear them.