Tag: Note taking

Complete Productivity Series

Be the Most Productive You Possible

RememberTheMilk Logo

Over the last few weeks I have written several articles focused on productivity and organization tips. I thought it might be helpful to create a page that groups, explains, and links to them in an organized manner.

I separated the articles into three general categories:

  1. Collecting Information
  2. Scheduling Activities
  3. Productivity on the Go 

Collecting Information

Processing, recording, recalling information is a critical part of being productive and organized. These articles cover effective ways to get a grip on all of the information in your life.


How You can Take the Greatest Notes in the World How You can Take the Greatest Notes in the World 

Taking good great notes is probably the best step to being more organized and productive. This article covers my personal technique for taking notes and using them to take action. 

Boost Your Creativity and Productivity by Using a Simple Notebook Boost Your Creativity and Productivity by Using a Simple Notebook

Trying to find ways to capture your creative bursts and brainstorms and use them effectively? One of the greatest tools ever invented is a humble notebook. Most of the creative, successful people that I see use notes as part of their creative process.


Boost Google Reader’s Productivity Boost Google Reader’s Productivity

There are a million different sources of information on the web that you need to check every day. Using Google Reader is the best way that I know to take in and process mountains of information in a short amount of time. Check out my favorite tips on squeezing every last drop out of it.


TITLE Never Forget Another Idea – Capture Everything with Evernote

If you want to take notes that you can use everywhere on any computer or phone, you need Evernote. This tutorial shows how to use Evernote on Windows, Mac, Linux, phones, and the web. This is one of my favorite productivity applications.


Scheduling Activities

After you capture everything you need, now it’s time to start putting it to work. You need a way to keep track of everything that needs to get done. Here are a few tips to help you get it together.


Get Things Done with RememberTheMilk Get Things Done with RememberTheMilk 

RememberTheMilk is my favorite web based task management tool. You can schedule, track, and manage all of your to do’s from the web or your phone. This is a life saver for the absent minded procrastinator. (I’m talking to you! and me.)


Getting the Most Out of Mozilla Thunderbird Getting the Most Out of Mozilla Thunderbird 

If you need a tool to handle Email, Contacts, and your Calendar, then give Mozilla’s Thunderbird a shot. I’ll show you how to stretch it beyond even Mozilla’s imagination with some of these extensions.


Productivity on the Go

None of us gets to sit down in an ideal office and handle everything that needs to be done. We’re all on the go these days. Well here are some great ways to take your show on the road without missing a beat.


Create a RoboSecretary for Yourself with Dial2Do Create a RoboSecretary for Yourself with Dial2Do 

This might be my favorite productivity tip in this series. Dial2Do allows you to take all of these productivity systems that I have covered and manage them from your phone. Dial the phone, say what you want done, and it just gets done. If you’re only going to read one article on this page, make it this one!


Create the Web Operating System Today Create the Web Operating System Today 

When you’re on the go, you never know what computer that you will be using. This article shows you how to put a full computing experience on the web and access it from any computer in the world.


Sync Files on Multiple Computers Using DropBox Sync Files on Multiple Computers Using DropBox 

If you do use multiple computers (work, home, school) you need DrobBox. This will let you sync your most important files between multiple computers with ease. Take a look at this tutorial.


Carry A Computer in your Pocket Carry A Computer in your Pocket 

If you insist on using desktop applications, then you should check out this article. You can load a bunch of your favorite applications on a USB drive and use them your way on any other computer.


What do you think?

If you have any other ideas or questions, please put them in the Comments below.

Continue reading

How You can Take the Greatest Notes in the World

Use this Simple Technique to Record, Organize, and Recall Everyting

best note taking technique

The information age is upon us. Every day I take in or crank out so much information that it is very difficult to keep it all together. With all of the computers, PDAs, and voice recorders available, I rely on a plain old notebook as my main weapon in the battle to record, create, and organize information. Even though my notebook is simple, my method of taking notes is anything but. I’m going to show you a quick way to go take great notes that will keep you on top of everything.


My Approach to Taking Great Notes

I use a combination of a few approaches modified into my own special method. I base it mostly on the Cornell Note Taking method. Since I’m not a student, I adapted it for taking notes at business meetings and brainstorming projects.


I start out with regular lined notebook paper. I break the page into four sections:



Action Items


Top Section

In Top the section I write the following:

Top Left – Attendee names (if it’s a meeting)

Top Center – Meeting or Project title

Top Right A – Page Number

Top Right B – Date

Top Section of Notes


Notes Section

I use the main section of the page to taking notes or writing ideas and content.


Notes Section


Action Items

I use the left margin of the page for Action Items. These are typically To-Do’s or Open Questions. If there is a task for me, I draw an arrow pointing out of the Notes section (right to left). Then, I write the task name, recipient (if any), the due date. If it’s a task for someone else I draw an arrow pointing into the Notes section (left to right). Then, I write the responsible person’s name, the task name, recipient (if it’s not me), and the due date.


Action Items Section

Summary Section

When the session is over I draw a wavy line below the Notes section. I write a brief one or two line summary at the bottom of the page.


 Summary Section

After the Meeting

I also transfer my Action Items to my rolling To-Do list. There are many great ways to record your task list, I love RememberTheMilk. Here is a tutorial showing how use RememberTheMilk to manage your tasks.

Cataloging Notes

Having a notebook full of notes is not very helpful if you can’t find what you need. I always leave a few pages at the back each notebook to create an Index. When I’m done with a meeting I go to the back and write the Page Number, Topic, and Date. This creates a scannable Index that I can use to quickly find notes by topic or date.


Extra Credit

At a lot of meetings that I attend people write and draw important information on flip charts or white boards. At the end of these meetings I usually pull out my phone and grab a decent picture of the information. Then I upload the picture to my Evernote account. Then the picture is available back at my computer before I even get to my desk. Then I print it off and tape the page to the back of the notes from the meeting. Here is a tutorial showing how to use Evernote to capture information anywhere and recall it any time.


This whole process only adds a few seconds onto the basic note taking process, but provides great benefits down the road. When I need to recall something from a project meeting that happened a month ago I just open the Index, find my page and go to the notes. At a moment I can see who was there, when it happened, what was said, and who was responsible for what. That’s certainly worth 45 seconds after an hour long meeting in my opinion.


Here is an article that I wrote about the virtues of taking notes and some of the other cool things that you can do with them.

If you have any other good note taking ideas please add them in the comments section.

Continue reading