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In this week’s ProductivityCast episode, Ray, Augusto, Francis and Art voiced their thoughts on note-taking—the value of note-taking, methods we use, and tips and tricks for taking notes in different contexts.
Note: I say that we’re covering note-taking methodologies in this episode, but we will actually be discussing those in the next several episodes, so stay tuned.
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In this Cast | A Love Letter to Note-Taking
Show Notes | A Love Letter to Note-Taking
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
7 Most Efficient Note Taking Methods
Raw Text Transcript
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Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:22
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Francis Wade 0:23
I’m Francis Wade.
Art Gelwicks 0:24
And I’m Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:25
Welcome, gentlemen, and welcome to our listeners to this episode of ProductivityCast. Today, we’re going to be talking about some fundamentals in the productivity world. And that is note taking. What I’d like us to do today is for us to talk about why we take notes that is we around the roundtable here at ProductivityCast, why we take notes, why maybe you should take notes. And then what I’d like for us to do is do a survey, kind of an overview of the top five or so, note taking methods that we know about and or use or have used in the past. And that will hopefully help you get a better understanding about how to take notes better. And so let’s start off with why take notes. What is the what is the reason for taking notes, and I will step outside of that answer for just a moment to note that the note taking space, that is the industry around notes is roughly a billion dollar industry and is supposed to grow to about $1.3 billion by 2026. So in just under, you know half a decade, we’re gonna see this explosion of the note taking software market, this is just in software, we’re not even talking about paper planners, which is another multi, you know, billion dollar industry. And it’s really interesting to see that note taking software is so popular, even though note taking itself is not the most sexy topic that people really think about when they think about productivity. It’s just one of those things that kind of rests into the background. But it’s something that I think all of us do, in some way, shape or form. And I’m curious why you take notes, what was the impetus for you to start taking notes? And why do you take notes? And what do you take notes of today?
Art Gelwicks 2:01
Well, for me, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s because I can’t remember everything. And it’s for the things that I need to remember. And it will, when I think about notes, everything goes back to academic note taking we think about scholastic note taking and all that lovely note taking we had to do back then, but it carries forward. And part of the challenge that I run into with notes and note taking. And the reason why I’m doing it is now professionally, I do it for reference after the fact, again, things I can’t remember and shouldn’t be trying to remember. Secondly, it’s for historical record of conversations and activities. And thirdly, and this is where I really struggle with a little bit. It’s to provide context across different sets of notes, where discussions happen around different topics that are related to each other or similar to be able to go back and revisit those and say, Okay, well wait, maybe there’s something else deeper here. But no taking in and of itself, I have yet to find a way that actually lends itself for that. I mean, there’s other methodologies and things. But when you sit there during a call during a meeting, during your discussion, whatever, and you’re just capturing stuff, you have to commit yourself to the fact that later on, you’re either going to have to go back and rewrite this and reorganize it, or it’s just going to sit there in a notebook or in a file or in the cloud somewhere. And you’re probably never going to do anything with it. And
Raymond Sidney-Smith 3:21
I think that’s one of the number one reasons why you would structure notes in and with a method so that you’re able to actually identify what it is that is useful in and during some event that forces you to take notes whether that event is solo or with others.
Art Gelwicks 3:37
Thanks. So also, I mean, the one thing I didn’t call out there is a lot of times you take notes for other people, you take notes to share with other individuals. And that’s almost even harder, because your structure and their structure may be completely unrelated. So they look at your notes and they go, What the heck is this mess, but you realize that you have all the context and the information you need. It’s just the approach and how you visualize it is different now that
Augusto Pinaud 3:59
you mentioned that I really feel bad for whoever need to look at my notes and reference. For me notes is a similar you know, it is my way to make sure that I understand what was discussed and more importantly for me, what are the projects and actions that come in out of that discussion. You know, as Art said, my my memory can’t remember that not only that I learned many years ago that the mind is great for certain things, but not for that. So notes for me has has a simple process and it’s a way to remember and I use markers through my notes so that way sometimes just the fact that I took the notes is enough and I don’t need to go back other than to pull actions away. So I make sure that I mark I am a big proponent of the Cornell Method so that way I could pull actions out of that if I am doing it by myself and they used to be my maps and then the mind map same thing. I mark easily for me to just look without need the need of reading, I know what are the places that I need to go to pull it, I think
Francis Wade 5:05
of note taking in sort of falling in three different buckets. One is for prospective memory, which is essentially next next actions, time demands, tasks, things that I need to do in the future. And I treat those very differently than I do notes that are for prospective member retrospective memories are, which is stuff that I’m trying to remember, and not forget, versus stuff that came into my awareness, I have no chance of remembering, but I need to retrieve at a later point. So I’m not trying to retrieve to remember, I’m actually storing it so that I can forget, forget, in the sense that I can’t, I don’t want to be able to retrieve it, I just want it to be available. So those three, those three notes may be mixed into the same page, but they’re doing three different jobs. And from the moment and I treat them differently, I’ll say
Raymond Sidney-Smith 5:56
that I started out my academic world with the idea that I didn’t need to take notes, I really felt as though I was against the topic as a as a as a youth purely because I, I was brought up in in the mindset that you know, you’re smart, and smart kids don’t work hard, you should not need to work hard. And it was actually a really terrible cultural component, I think it still is, you know, when you tell children who are who are brighter than average, that they’re smart, it tells them not to work hard. And so I would go through all kinds of sessions in school. And I would not take notes purely because I thought that I had to pay close attention. And only by paying close attention was I going to be able to recall everything. And remarkably, I just happen to have a very good memory. And so for many years that served me, and then scholastic duties expanded, and that started to fail. So I got my Trapper Keeper out and decided to use the note, you know, the notebook in it, for purposes of taking notes. And that’s when I really started to feel like, wow, this is so simple. If I just take notes, then I can reference them again. And nobody cared. Nobody cared that I was taking notes. It wasn’t like Johnny over my shoulder saying, oh, ravens taking notes, nobody cared. And, you know, that was, for some reason, there was this cultural component I just that I that I understood at a very young age. And for some reason, that made me not take notes. And going into the place where then I started to take notes, I recognize the value from that very early age that just that one twist of saying, Wait, I’m not capable of remembering everything that’s happening in class, I can’t remember all these signs, the teachers telling me, there was a point where I think probably in Bali, fifth or sixth grade, moving from elementary school to junior high school, that’s the way the New York school systems work. I, I moved from the teacher giving you all of your assignments in writing to take home to then you having to take it down, and and manage that yourself. And I think that was the point where I started to feel that friction and realize the value of of taking, taking notes, writing things down. And I think ever since then I’ve been a fan of all things note taking. And I think that’s why you take notes is because of all the things you talked about both prospective memory and retrospective memory, the idea that you want to be able to remember things and you want to be able to remember them both for historical purposes for archival and reference purposes, but also because you want to be able to plan, what’s going to happen, you want to know what’s going to happen and make that more likely, you can’t make them more likely if you don’t remember. So I think that’s the the plain reasons very, you know, kind of practical reasons behind it.
Francis Wade 8:33
Oh, retrieval, though, because there’s a, I’m sure you guys have had this experience where you took a took note of something and you stored it. And then years later, or maybe days for some of you go back to the notes. And you’re like who wrote this, and it looks like totally brand new to you. You’ve never, there’s nothing that jogs even, Oh, yeah. And you read through it and, like, have no idea either who wrote this or where this came from. And I’m glad it’s here. So there’s that kind of retrieval, which is so effective that it vanishes for more memory. And it says if it never existed, that’s really useful.
Art Gelwicks 9:10
I think that was the one biggest change I made and and it didn’t happen till I want to say about seven or eight years ago, about my own note taking when I stopped taking notes for myself and started taking notes for somebody who wasn’t there. That’s the mindset I had to change. So if somebody wasn’t if I’m taking notes for a meeting, I frame myself in the say, Okay, if I have to give these notes to somebody else who was not present in that meeting, and did not have that memory cont, what’s the value they’re going to get? Because I realized, at a certain point, my brain is going to go you weren’t there, even though you were your brains gonna know you weren’t there. You don’t remember any of this and you treat it as if it were new content that has made a huge difference in my notes. However, it has also made my notes much more detailed, and much more voluminous in quantity. It forces me to write a lot more content, because I’m not going to say, oh, yeah, I know what that means, you know, I know what that piece ties to, I can assume I’m not going to have that recall. So I, I broaden it out quite a bit more, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just, it’s a thing. And it’s helped me quite a bit to think about somebody else who would need to reference this. And I’ve carried that over not only prep, or professionally, but personally, when I start to write things for put in my lockbox that I have reference for it later on, I write it for somebody who’s going to not be me to read it, because if I read it, oh, that’s really easy. Not a problem, I totally get it, somebody else, at least they have a better starting place.
Augusto Pinaud 10:36
You know, it is interesting, because handwritten notes. And this made me thought about this, you know, I the first electronic device that was mine was a Casio and you open it and, and he has a little keyboard and a little screen and he didn’t have a copy. It wasn’t that great. But that was the first device I had before the Palm Pilot. And I remember the recent for me to upgrade to the palm pilot was that backup possibility because for me non searchable notes, I don’t care how beautiful the notebooks are done work because I can retrieve the notes. I my memory doesn’t work to think oh, when is that I take that notes that will never happen, okay, that that ship left before that ship never arrived. So this searchable component was really, really important. That was what made me for years not take handwritten notes. Because the technology did not allow searching that when Evernote came out was the first technology that I remember that allows to find or do a lot of the search in that that he was incredible at that time. But that is a really interesting point that you make. I don’t think my notes to this day are meant for anybody other than than me to look for it. But it’s a really interesting perspective. Because as a person who takes a lot of notes for different things in meetings and stuff, I’m going to make them know to start trying, okay, what if I need to show or share these notes with somebody because mine are full of things that I understand from an outside person will make no sense at
Raymond Sidney-Smith 12:08
all, I have clear delineation between notes that I take for myself and those that I take for others. And it’s usually very different style. So for example, in my own notes, when I’m writing for myself, their sentence fragments, their terms, I’m frequently identifying effect. It’s an attention focusing mech mechanism, I want to be able to stay focused on the content of the meeting. And so I will frequently identify what’s going on what’s being said to me and why it’s being said to me, and that’s not really for future purposes, it’s for present focus. And then anytime someone triggers me for something like thoughts, or otherwise, I try to actually remind myself about what I’m saying to them. Many times. It’s something that I tell people all the time. And so I will just note what that thing is right? Like, oh, it’s the s seven framework, I just I just explained the f7 framework to them done, right. And that term anchors for me everything I said at that point, so that I can go back. And if everyone, anyone, anytime they’re like, Okay, did did, what did we explain to them, I can say, oh, okay, explain this piece to them, I explained that piece to them. And then there’ll be like new ideas. Like if I’ve had a creative idea in the system, that I use a signifier as a booster noted earlier, you know, using a marker of some kind to identify things, I have a little identifier, so that I know that this was a new idea for me, and therefore to go back to it and captured into my system as a new thought, a new thing. Because sometimes, you know, I’m talking about some methodology, and then I have what I believe is a brilliant idea. And I want to take that idea, and go put that someplace else. So I can do either further research on it, validate it, and see if it’s useful for something else. That’s actually the most useful component for me, when I’m taking notes. For myself, it’s very infrequently for me to go back and reference for the future because it’s they’re not things where I’m typically learning in that environment. Now, if I’m in an environment where I am a passenger, right, I’m a I’m a viewer, say I’m in a webinar or some kind of training, then that’s where I will take probably more copious notes, where I’ll actually start to do more typing than not, and try to actually write in full sentences. And frequently since now, I’m, I’m taking most of my notes in a in a virtual environment. I’m taking a lot of screenshots, I find myself in essence, grabbing screenshots, because there’s a slide up on the screen, I can then start to annotate that particular slide. And I do a lot of online courses. So I’m always taking online courses, so screenshotting there. If I’m in person, then it depends on whether I’m capable of audio recording the session, you see is a Livescribe smart pen. So it took audio for everything that was said in the meeting. Sometimes I will record with my iPhone, I’ll just turn on the audio just so that I’m able to reference back to what was being said against my own notes, especially if I’m learning in that environment. Is is really important for me to do that, I don’t really keep the audio into perpetuity, it’s just literally for me to be able to fill in the gaps of my notes. And then I’ll usually get rid of the audio because it’s really not useful beyond that, and that’s my thoughts on it. It’s like, there’s a tracking. And then there’s an action, like I generated an idea, or there’s something that will need to be done in the future. And then there is the learning environment, whether it’s academic, or you’re just in an environment where you’re learning something new. Say you’re in a meeting where you have a salesperson who’s teaching you about a new product or service or something like that, that they want to do. You want to understand what they’re saying to you and be able to reference that back as you make a choice as to whether or not to purchase that service or product. And so I will try to do as much to capture as much in that environment as possible, including recording, because that can be a useful way of capturing the data that you didn’t capture while you were there. For example, many times I’m in meetings, my emotional state is fairly level because I’m trying to capture data. So I don’t capture potentially, like the tone, or you know, like someone’s voice in the meeting may have been very negative towards something. And I won’t capture that until listening back to it. And I’ll be like, oh, you know what someone so really didn’t like this person or this particular product feature. And I wouldn’t have known that until I listened back because I was too busy dealing with the details. And so my I single focus in that way. Yeah, it’s
Art Gelwicks 16:26
it’s really interesting that you call those kinds of things out, because those are not things that people normally think about notetaking. I mean, I find I do similar things, harkening back to our previous episode about tagging. That’s one of the things I do quite a bit when I go through and I take notes, I will tag things around specific context, for example, new idea or blog article so that I can go back and pull those things out without having to hide to remember, Oh, I had an idea for a blog card. But the other part you’re absolutely right is personal observations, I actually do two things within my notes, I’ll either put something into italics to indicate it’s my thinking, not somebody else’s No, not a piece of contextual reference. Or if I have a feeling that I’m going to have a bunch of those thoughts, I wind up creating a section in the notes for observations. And I do that explicitly. So that if I have to share those notes with somebody, I can just pull that section off and send the rest along, because they’re my own observations. You know, if I thought somebody was being a knucklehead that day, I may put that in my own note, but that’s not something that needs to be shared. So those those mechanism pieces you won’t find defined in any of these methodology. I mean, you won’t see an illustration for that. But it becomes a critical part of your capture and your process and how you work through just the information of something and what are you going to do with I’ve found more improvement in my note taking by focusing on my personal note taking than I have on my profession, professionals easy enough. I mean, you take notes, you share them, fine, but the personal one’s tough, because you don’t normally do personal note, take, you know, if you’re working on things like trying to figure out, you know, new car insurance policy, for example, you know, what notes you’re gonna take, but you may take notes on that entire process. And if you do, then when you go back later on, you realize, oh, wait, you know, I could use this approach. When I try to identify my life insurance. It gives us it can become an internal narrative that almost a time starts to blur its line into I don’t wanna say blur into journaling, but almost to that mindset of giving yourself a place to talk through what you’re hearing what you’re seeing what you’re reading, and, and its relevance for yourself and have that internal discussion. It’s changed my way of handling it. It’s by far from perfect, it’s still a mess, but at least it gives me some contextual ways to go back and say, All right, I need to come up with a blog article idea. Let me let me grab everything that I tagged as blog articles and look at and think about that and allow my brain to then treat that as new content, I think that’s probably the biggest thing is we look at our notes. And we think that we’re reviewing old content, but actually, it’s new, because it’s not the same content. It’s our interpretation there. Unless we’re just screenshotting, or, you know, photo statting, or cutting and pasting, it’s our take on what we just had, or at least it should, it’s it’s an interesting exercise.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:12
And I think notetaking is a is a, for me a pattern recognizing tool, as much as it as a focusing tool for me. And so I will frequently try to understand the patterns of the people I’m meeting with. And so if I’m meeting with people on a regular basis, I’m taking notes, and I’m trying to determine really what I’m learning about them as much as I’m learning about what we’re discussing in the meeting. And that’s really helpful for me, especially if it’s the same client over and over again, and that’s where I take most of my notes is in client meetings. And if a client is really not interested in utilizing a particular type of technology, then I will take note of that each time they share that information and that will tell me two things, one, whether or not I need to let up on it. Right. take my foot off the accelerator there or whether I need to put my foot down harder on the accelerator there, because I know it’s important for them, you know, many times I’m having to make recommendations for technology. And if they reject that technology, and they need it, that’s different than No, I just like them to use it. And it’d be great if they did. But if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, okay, so I can hit the brakes on that. But if they really need that technology, then I need to figure out a better, more persuasive way to get them to utilize that technology. And that pattern really helps me going forward, everybody’s situation is different. But I think it’s, I think it’s really useful, being able to look at patterns, as you see them move occur. And that’s only by virtue of capturing the data as it’s happening. And the other side is to reflect on that data in some way, shape, or form. And I review my notes for every week during my weekly review. So I’m looking at those notes each week. And there are different ways in which you can do that, you know, it’s just like, looking at your journal, once a month, or whatever you look at your journal, you see patterns in what you’ve written, and that helps you understand why you’ve written it. And really how you work. It’s the same thing with notes, just in a more, you know, potentially professional work school context. And the other thoughts about why we should take notes.
Art Gelwicks 21:11
I mean, there’s, there’s tons of reasons to take them. I’m more challenged with people’s reasons to not take because you get you know, like you mentioned earlier, you know, there’s this perception of sitting there scribbling I’ve literally seen people get bent out of shape in meetings, because other people in the meeting are paying attention to capturing the notes of what’s being said, rather than paying attention to the speaker. I’m like, do you want me to remember what you’re saying or not? You know, that’s that’s kind of a dichotomy there. It’s tough, but I say it’s tough. But it’s really not that tough. Because we we’ve learned, it’s just scale and scope. And understand that notes are one of those things like tasks, like calendar entries, that are basic mechanical parts of being productive, you have to take note, you have to write tasks down, you have to hit schedule, like you can’t be productive without those because there’s too much of a downside. So dedicating time to constantly refining and improving your note taking skills is probably one of the best things that you can do across the board, not only professionally, but personally.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 22:13
Okay, so we have talked a lot about the situation where we really have written a love letter to note taking, where should we not take notes, I’ll give my first kind of reasoning for not taking notes in any given environment, which is that when you have a meeting scribe, so if there is a meeting scribe who is present and available and taking notes for the meeting, in a very formal setting, say a board meeting where you have the executive board together, and your job is to be fully present? And is it as much pomp and circumstance as it is a functioning meeting, I would say that taking copious notes, notes, that notes that I take which are involved in my my head is usually down, not looking up, you know, that ends up detracting from the the performance of being a board member. And so therefore, you have to kind of deal with the the issues of being present for say, an annual meeting. And that one time when people are kind of seeing you and your face and experiencing you versus you capturing some note, and usually those meetings are now recorded. They have a meeting scribe and a parliamentarian, and there is a clear formal structure to the meeting. I think in those situations, taking notes may not be the best for you, it depends on the size of the board depends on the context of the meeting, and may be informed, more informal, but I’ve just found that in those formal settings, taking notes for me has actually detracted from the overall social professional experience. What are some other circumstances where do you agree or disagree? And are there other circumstances where taking notes may not be useful?
Art Gelwicks 23:49
I agree with that one to a certain degree. I think in those circumstances, I would still take some of my notes, but they would have no relevance or no specific impact on the the official record.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 24:00
I tried to do the like the looking up and taking notes thing.
Art Gelwicks 24:03
Yeah, you wind up with a mess. Yeah, my
Raymond Sidney-Smith 24:06
I never know what I wrote afterward. For me, it’s
Augusto Pinaud 24:09
that’s how I take notes, I will be happy to share my notes with you guys.
Art Gelwicks 24:15
Taking for me taking notes that don’t expand or increase my understanding of what I’m recording is unnecessary. So for example, going through and highlighting a bunch of sections in a book, but then never going through and taking notes on what those actually mean, what’s the context how they relate? That’s to me, that’s unnecessary notes because I’m not adding value. And that notes must add value in mind. And if if they’re not going to if it’s just a capture then the heck with it. I’m just wasting time.
Francis Wade 24:46
It caught my mind my attention when you mentioned earlier, he said she called effective notes in the sense that you’re capturing the effect of what’s happening in the meeting. So I’m curious to know is there a systematic way to captured, not they, here’s what said, Here’s what decisions were made. And here’s what next actions are. But here’s the environment, the mood, the hostile look that this person gave someone else, or the feeling of discomfort. Is there any way you guys know to capture kind of the emotional space of a meeting, I’ve never seen anything from
Raymond Sidney-Smith 25:24
curious, since I’ve been seeing more and more recorded meetings being transcribed. For example, you know, I’m working with a company right now. And all meetings are recorded and transcribed. So all meetings, and it’s really unique, because seeing all of the transcripts of every meeting across every group of people, whether I’m in the meeting or not, I can literally read the historical record of everything that’s happening, which also means that you can start to identify positive or negative effect of the people in the in the meetings, by virtue of just, you know, a semantic search. That is one way, of course, you’re not capturing both technically, in this particular meeting environment, it is being video recorded also. So you could potentially do machine learning on that to identify facial expressions as well as physical manner, those kinds of things to see whether or not those are, are representing people’s emotional states. The problem with that, though, is as being someone who does a lot of training, and I’m in front of crowds, and I see their faces and how people interact, people are so different. I have the I have what I call the angry, interested face from attendees in my workshops. And there’s always that one person where I’ve done the entire workshop, we’ve been together for seven hours, and all I think is that person’s angry and pissed off at me. And then they come up afterward. And they’re just elated. They’re like, this was such an interesting, amazing, you know, I learned so much. And all I could think of was, why did you have that face the entire time. But
Art Gelwicks 26:52
there’s a name for that you can Google so I want to keep our rating where it is. But there’s a name for that.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 26:57
Yes, the resting be face. Yeah, but but the but the reality is, is that, from my perspective, you just never know what’s going on inside a person, even though potentially their outside is showing something different. And that’s something that I don’t think technology has quite yet figured out, which is that humans are weird creatures.
Art Gelwicks 27:18
A trick I used to do back in my presale days when I was helping sales guys out is if I was going to be on a call with a client, I would make a list one through whatever of all the people who were going to be in the meeting in my notes. And then as we were going through the presentation and getting questions, if I got a negative response from somebody next to that note, I would put in the number of that person’s name, and either a plus or a minus what their reaction is. And then if for no other reason, at the end, I could then go back and see did I have a bunch of reactions from a person? And was there a trend around their reaction was there a trend around multiple reactions around the topic, it’s easier with a canned presentation type, because you knew you knew what the steps were coming rather than, than an open discussion, because then you’re always kind of on your back foot. But I found if that’s an important thing that you need to be able to do, that’s an easy trick to do, at least it gives you some sort of a starting context that you can work into it. But again, that’s tagging. I hate to say it, but that’s tagging your tagging with a person and, and a sentiment at that point. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 28:21
and I found that actually tracking my own effect is more useful than tracking other people’s. It’s just a factor of my ability to understand what information in a meeting is useful and interesting to me. And if I find it not useful to me, then that’s okay. But if the information was useful, and I found it not interesting, then why and not all information that’s useful is interesting. Maybe it was the presenter was boring. Maybe it was presented with the wrong analogy, right? Someone tried to use a, you know, an airplane analogy, when they really should have used a car analogy. And it’s just like, Oh, Christ, can we can we get this right guys. Um, and, you know, it’s just any number of things where I see I see poor presentation all the time. And it’s just a fact of the matter of being a professional presenter. I’m used to I’m used to critiquing what’s going on around me. And so I have to turn that off to some as best as I can turn that off when I am myself in the audience. And it’s incredibly difficult. So I spend actually quite a bit of my, my emotional energy, trying to make sure that I’m aware of that, so that I can turn it off as I’m listening. So yeah, I think I think it’s good to track other people’s effect for any number of good reasons. I just know my own reason for tracking
Art Gelwicks 29:33
Yeah, I’ll often and this will, this will be application specific. When I’m taking notes in OneNote. I’ll have a text box with all the notes that I’m taking the actual notes I’m taking and then next to it I have a text box just from my own brain, you know, soapbox moments, if I have a moment like what the heck are they talking about? Why are they so clueless? I’ll put it into that little box because there may be value to that sentiment. afterwards. There may not I just delete that little box but at least the gets that out of my head. And that’s part of that internal narrative and conversation that happens that helps me keep things moving forward. Otherwise, I just didn’t fester on those things. It’s like, why why are these notes making me angry? Well, it’s because this was why so
Raymond Sidney-Smith 30:13
you trigger a really important feature of my note taking, which is that if it is in a live environment, I am frequently writing down questions I have for the people around me. So that as we’re having the conversation, if there’s a question that I don’t know the answer to, I’m asking that question in writing, because I may not get the floor to ask the question of the group. And I may not need the group to find that answer. So say somebody references, some weird disease, some medical condition, it would otherwise distract me thinking about like, what is that? That’s interesting. Let me go to Wikipedia and look that up. And of course, the goal is to stay focused in the meeting. So I will say, what is whatever trischka DECA phobia, right, which is the fear of the number 13. And so like, I’ll write that down, what is just a deck of phobia? And then, you know, now I can go back to the meeting, and not lose track of things because of my curiosity. But it also means that if I do have a question for someone I will write, you know, Bill Cohen, what did you mean by this? When you said that, and that way, the next time I do have the floor, I can say, Oh, by the way, Bill, what did you mean by this? I really don’t understand that component. Can we get further clarification on that? And so I’m doing two levels of tracking conversation in that environment, which could also include what questions I want to ask of a presenter when all is said and done, we get to get done with a lecture or seminar. And I do have questions for that person, which ones are worth asking? Because you may not be able to ask all your questions. And so frequently, I will, then I use exclamation points as my prioritization of things. And so I will scan through and if What if there’s one question mark, that’s more important. That’s important to question marks is more important. And three, question three exclamation points. Sorry, exclamation points. So one, two, and three. It’s just basically a prioritization. If I can only ask one question that I will choose the one that has three question, three exclamation points over the one that has two verses one that has one. And those are just really, really helpful for me to be able to know that I have those signifiers in my system to be able to try. Alright, gentlemen, this has been a lot of fun. And I hope you all get something valuable out of listening to our kind of our reasons for taking notes. And we will have future episodes where we talk about note taking methodologies, and all kinds of note taking software and all kinds of other things like that. So we’re looking forward to doing that. And so we are at the end of our discussion for this topic, but it doesn’t mean the conversation has to stop here. If you have a question or a comment about what we’ve discussed today, feel free to visit our episode page on ProductivityCast dotnet. So you can find that by going to ProductivityCast dotnet, forward slash, and then the three digit episode number, so 001002003, and so on, are the episode numbers, you could just put the forward slash and that three digit number that will take you over to the episode page for that episode. There. On that page, you’ll find our show notes, links to anything we discussed, and a text transcript and a PDF transcript. So the text transcripts on the page, if you’re listening, you can read along, but you can also download it in PDF, but also on that page, you can leave a comment or a question for us to be able to read and respond to feel free to go ahead and subscribe to the podcast if you already haven’t done so. If you are on productivitycast.net Just click on subscribe, and you’ll see the instructions for be able for being able to do so. And you’re also capable of leaving a rating or response in Apple podcasts and Stitcher and whatever podcast app you choose. Feel free to do that. And when you do, of course, the compliments are complimentary, thank you. But it really helps to broaden our personal productivity listening community. And so thank you for doing that. I want to express my thanks to Augusto Pinaud Francis Wade, and art Gelwicks for joining me here on ProductivityCast. Each week, you can learn more about them and their work by visiting ProductivityCast dotnet as well. And with that, I’m Ray Sidney-Smith and on behalf of all of us here at ProductivityCast Here’s to productive life.
Voiceover Artist 34:01
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.