IT Best Practices

Why Note-Taking Practices Can Change Your Work Outcomes

Unless you have a photographic memory, you just cannot remember every single piece of information that other people say or show you, and that’s why you need to write things down to “store” your data. To Sam Grier, writing at the IT Managers Inbox, note-taking is a daily skill and can be improved. Notes can get messy and useless if a person doesn’t know how to organize them. As a result, Grier introduces an information management system that pushes for a more efficient and effective way to manage notes—the Cornell Note-Taking System. This method is based on three areas; one example template has these characteristics:

  • The right side of the page is where you record your notes during a meeting.
  • The left side of the page is the cue column that can be used to add a symbol or reference cue about the note.
  • At the bottom of the page is an area to summarize your notes.

Don’t View Note-Taking as a Conundrum

A note can save your day and make your life easier. You don’t want to miss a fantastic idea just because you forget what came to your mind a few hours ago, nor do you want to be “bombarded” with questions from your boss and colleagues asking whether you have completed a task that you can’t even remember. It is important to use a single media or platform to write things down. Don’t just grab a random white paper and then lose it somewhere on your desk, or write marketing terms in a note page filled with tasks from an IT operations meeting. The Cornell Note-Taking system allows you to modify the note to meet your needs.

Using note-taking cues is also a wise way to save time and still record good information. Common cues include an asterisk noting an important piece of information (*), a question mark for something needed to be fact-checked or asked, and “TO-DO” indicating things you need to work on. Taking notes is not writing a descriptive essay, so abbreviate terms and phrases whenever you need, but make sure that you can understand them when you review the note.

Last but not least, don’t just take notes to decorate the paper or to look professional. Review your notes to follow up with your tasks, remind yourself of an incomplete assignment, and reflect on what you’ve done. Grier says that taking and reviewing notes is something workers and managers benefit from.

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