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Should I take notes on my computer or on paper?

by Tris Hussey on June 26th, 2007

I think this must be one of the key questions facing workers right now.  Silly you think?  Okay, you go into a meeting, you know that information is going to be shared that you need to remember or you are going to be given a task (or three), so how do you record said information and tasks?  Pen and paper?  OneNote or EvernoteMindManager? Basic text file?  Not easy is it?  Pen and paper is dead simple and you’ve been doing it since elementary school, but paper is easily lost and can’t be searched quickly.

OneNote and Evernote are cool, I’ve used them both for taking notes with success, but … sometimes they aren’t easy to share an find later.

MindManager is my favourite app for long meetings, especially meetings like start planning, etc.  Because it includes task information you can record that information in one place.  Downside, sharing again.  Yes the view is awesome and the PDF or Word export helps, but the map form is the most powerful way to view it, IMHO.

What do I do?  I use all three, because as you can gather they aren’t mutually exclusive.  Sometimes I just need to jot something down, so I whip out my small Moleskine notebook.  Lots of different stuff goes in there, but I can flip through it quickly.

Evernote is great for stashing web content for later.  Quick notes to myself, sometimes.  It is supremely searchable, something that is much appreciated.  It is free so sharing is less of a barrier.

Obviously you can tell where I use MindManager.  It’s also great for building the agenda for a meeting, then taking notes on that map.  If your agenda is organized, then your notes will be too.

My philosophy for all these tips is to provide you with options.  Sure there are tips that will make you smack yourself on the head because they save you time or money, but really I’m just a guy who likes to play with all kinds of tech toys and figure out if they fit into my life.  And if there is one overall tip, don’t let the inertia of “I’ve been using that application for so long…” to keep you from trying something new.  I switched from Google Reader to FeedDemon recently, and given GR’s problems of late, I’m happy I did.  Beyond that, I’ve found that with some self training, I’m gaining efficiencies in pouring through feeds and feel okay about adding more into my information stream.

Of course there are cases where you can’t or won’t switch.  I don’t think I’ll give up Outlook again.  For all it’s flaws, it does what I need it to do without fuss.  I still keep an open mind, though.

POSTED IN: MindMapping, Meeting magic, General work pimps

1 opinion for Should I take notes on my computer or on paper?

  • Brian Friedlander
    Jun 26, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    One other option that others may want to consider is using the Logitech digital pen and paper solution. It is easy to use and when you are done you can download the ink to your computer. Right now this is a Windows solution. I use the to take notes when I attend meetings and then download it to my PC. I can also output the text to Word and save it there.

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