Is there a Best Way to Take Notes for Professionals?
If the best way to take notes was the most used way to do so, pen & paper notes would be the best note-taking method by far: 90%* of professionals take notes with pen & paper.
Fortunately or not, there is not a best way but different methods and tools, which pen & paper is the most commonly use today.
We can identify two processes in note-taking:
- The note-taking in itself
- The further use of notes taken
For professional use, the importance of these elements may vary from a sector and/or activity to another. Nonetheless, the further use of Notes and their availability for business purposes is fundamental and some persistant limitation are bounded to non-digital note taking.
Issues with Handwritten Notes and their Use:
The main problem with handwritten notes lays in the use you make of it afterwards.
Most of the time in business, notes are a mean to transfer information from a source to another entity. This entity is often a digital one, like an organizer, a Project Management software, a database, etc. and when it is not, giving our own notes or even a photocopy of it to someone isn’t, obviously, a common practice.
Therefore, handwritten notes often have to be digitized afterwards, which is time-consuming and adding no added-value to a Business.
Even for professionals taking notes for themselves, they always have to digitize some part of them for some reasons like managing a digital to-do list or keeping safely stored information taken on Notes.
Moreover, the lack of ability to quickly tag and search within past notes is harming productivity, especially for people taking lots of notes.
This lack of convenience is preventing a simple and intuitive integration of Notes to the Business Workflow and therefore, is harming individual and collective Productivity.
Of course, it is not a black and white issue and Handwritten Note-Taking has its advantages.
For Professionals, the main benefit of Pen & Paper is flexibility: you can basically write whatever you want the way you want with a Pen and a Note book.
Therefore, if you want to solve a Problem, you will be more effective jotting it on paper and thinking “out-loud” with your Pen. However, if this problem needs some additional information from past notes, the lack of a Search Feature on your Note Books will waste you some precious time. In this case the best way to solve the Problem might be a combination of digital past notes and some Paper to solve problems when they pop up.
Then, some studies have proven that handwriting Notes allows a better understanding and remembering of what is being taken notes of. The concept of “desirable difficulty” is behind this positive effect of handwritten notes, which effect might be more interesting for students though.
Finally, Pen & Paper notes are more reliable in terms of availability: you will find some pen and paper basically anywhere you go whereas you might forget to bring your laptop / tablet, or run out of battery.
However, digital note-taker will always be able to switch to Handwritten Notes if needed.
Digital Note-Taking is helping Professionals
Digital Note-Taking is answering to many limitations of Handwriting.
More precisely, Digital Notes enables a further use of them way more convenient and effective. You can easily search, index, tag and sort your Notes.
Then, even though Digital Notes can’t beat the flexibility of Handwritten ones, Digital Notes can be structured in many different ways regarding the Software you use to do so.
As said before, sooner or later Handwritten Notes get digitized, which lead to the same result as Digital Notes but with an additional step. Then, Digital Notes can be the material for To-do Lists, provide information and updates to Projects and be the basis of reports.
More precisely, structured and dynamic Notes enable new Workflow automations that is the basis of Innovative Productivity Tools such as Beesy.
Moreover, the Cloud storage and the Cross-Platform characteristic behind many Note-Taking Application make Digital Note-Taking Ubiquitous. Therefore, you can access all your previous Notes, edit them or create new ones from anywhere at anytime. You only need a digital device, which almost every professional has, beginning with the Smartphone and Tablets for an increasing number of them.
The range of digital device, with its different user experiences, is obviously richer than the range of Notebooks. There are mainly 3 choices: Laptop, Smartphone and Tablet.
Which one provides the best way to take notes?
The tablet, with its tactile interface and its reasonable size (not too small nor too big) might be the most convenient tool for Note-Taking combining mobility and usability (an additional keyboard might be needed to reach the same typing speed as a laptop).
The Best Way to Take Notes might be a Combination of handwritten and Digital Notes
There are already different technologies that offer to instantly digitize handwritten Notes.
Actually there are two main way of doing it:
- Handwriting Apps for Tablets
- SmartPens with automatic Digitization
Handwriting Apps let you write with your finger or stylus directly on your Tablet Screen. This technology is developing but both the experience and the result does not provide an Effective nor Productive way of Taking Notes.
Conversely, the Smartpen Technology is very promising. Smartpens let you take Notes on Paper that are automatically digitized (often with a tiny infra-red camera and using special paper).
Combine this Technology with a Handwriting Recognition Technology and a whole new way of Note-Taking emerges.
This way Notes can be taken on Paper, like 90% of Professionals use to do, and also be digitized and turned into editable text.
For example, with MyScript, Handwriting in 63 languages can be recognized and transcribed with a astounding accuracy.
This way of Note-Taking is promising because it combines the advantages of Handwriting and Digital Note-taking and therefore erase most of their respective drawbacks. It might soon be the Best Way to Take Notes for Professionals.
However, even though the technology is well developed and completely functional, it is still an expensive Technology.