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Writing

The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand

The researchers postulate that the effect might stem from the fact that while typing, it’s easy to write down verbatim what the speaker is saying, without really thinking about it. Taking notes by hand requires listening to the information being said, processing it and then summarizing it in your own words.

Less is more. Writing notes down in your own words helps you recall more information than if you type them out.

Note-taking is all about succeeding slowly.

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Scribbling in the Margins

The jottings we make in the books we own may well be among the highest tributes we pay to authors. They are signs of respect, signs of engagement. What more could a writer hope for?

Marking up a book is a currency for its usefulness, even for the digital versions. That’s why Amazon bought Goodreads, to build a social platform around highlights.

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Charles Darwin’s cross-writing, a technique for saving writing paper. 1828 - @History_Pics
Charles Darwin’s cross-writing, a technique for saving writing paper. 1828 – @History_Pics

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A Few Digital Habits

  • Twitter is the entertainment. Some of us don’t even watch TV; instead, we watch our Twitter streams and still get the download. Twitter is the new Cliff Notes.

  • The Kindle is still a great way to read digital books. It lacks the full functionality of a Smartphone on purpose; less distractions enable more focused reading.

  • Keep Reminders digital and To-dos optional. Set automatic reminders on the phone or on the computer. Write to-dos in whatever screen works best. I typically keep a log of things I need to do in one document and scribe priorities on a sticky note. There’s something about writing out a to-do that makes it more actionable.

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Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity. They’re Also More Important Than Ever.

The beauty of a well-crafted handwritten note is that it can show deeper investment and appreciation than a simple thank-you can.

Emails are like texts.  So are Tweets and Facebook messages.  Sure, we still spend time in thinking about what to say but instant messages cost nothing.  They’re infinite.    

Books, vinyl, handwritten notes:  the value lies within their scarcity.  

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Visual Note-Taking

If there’s one thing I’d like to do more of it’s visual note-taking.  

You don’t have to be a good artist to engage in visual note-taking.  You just have to be really good at using your imagination to illustrate the most important information.  Every bullet point can be substituted with a doodle. 

Images pre-interpret thought.  Images tell stories, so much so that you don’t even need to read captions.  Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, have taught us to inform others with storytelling images.  Images convey everything we want to say. 

I remember the days I used to browse Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine just looking at the images.  The images drove me to the articles.  The headline might as well been missing. 

As I get older and digital allows for more customization, I like to move swiftly in and out of images while reading.  I just scan the headlines in my RSS feed.  I scan all the newspaper articles on my Kindle and just read the articles of interest.  But I also follow image-based stories more than ever.  Instagram does a great job of storytelling world events through images on its blog.  I make sure to turn on expanded view when viewing my RSS creative design feeds.  

Taken together, image and text enable readers to dig as deep as they want.  But when it comes to summaries, there may be nothing better than just a visual that explains the whole thing.  No time lost.  

Source: sketchnotearmy.com via Teresa on Pinterest