• The study referenced in the video is The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard, published in Psychological Science. You can also read a good summary here.
  • My go-to notebooks come from Field Notes. The notebook in the video is a special edition Field Notes memo book I created as a giveaway for people who pre-ordered To Sell is Human. We ended up sending out about 8,000 of them, some of which, amazingly, are now for sale on secondary markets for $25.

73 Responses to “Pinkcast 2.2: Why you should take notes by hand”

  1. Kok Hwa Lim says:

    I totally agree that writing notes by hand is definitely better for me. As you said, you have a higher tendency to try and summarise, synthesise and interpret what you hear or read in your own words. This represented the first level of understanding of what I’ve just heard or read.

    I then go back and re-read my handwritten notes, this time highlighting the words I want to emphasise and repairing some of the horrible handwriting as I scribbled away earlier on. This helps me to further comprehend my understanding.

    Finally, I also transfer these set of notes to either Evernote, or if these are reflections, to DayOne 2.0. So I finally typed these out, but only at the last stage and to keep them in digital format as a future resource or reference. Keeping them in digital format like these allows me to tag these notes, thus making them useful for future use.

    • Cathy Akin says:

      I have been taking notes by hand for many years. I sometimes get quizzical looks which said….what IS she writing and WHY is she doing that. When I was occasionally asked, I’d explain that writing was the way I ‘imprinted’ the information on my brain. Maybe not the best explanation, but they got the point. Thank you for validating my ‘idiosyncrasy’, which isn’t !

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Dan, that transcription captures Knowledge, while writing captures Learning. Years ago I learned the skill of MindMapping, which really connects to my visual learner. So in addition to hand-writing my notes, I capture ideas with a combination of words, images and colors, which does even more to reinforce the learning in my brain!

  3. This is a great reminder. An extra juicy tip is to use an iPhone app called CamScanner to digitally digest and digitally store the notes for use in context of future projects. Thanks, Dan Pink.

  4. David Pinsker says:

    Dan and now Kok Hwa Lim, you have settled an argument that has been raging in my head for many years; so thank you for that. Especially, digitising the notes so that they can be stored and searched is sensible.
    The question that remains, though, is how extensive should the notes be. Trying to take down everything obviously doesn’t work. I tried being selective, but this introduced the additional obstacle of having to decide for each utterance whether it warrants being noted down, and this decision process detracted from the listening. I stopped noting what seemed obvious, but then found I frequently did not have much of a record of what was said if a meeting or a lecture did not produce any great surprises. Generally I’ve found that trying to note what the other person is saying makes it hard to concentrate.I use notes to highlight a point that I want to raise as a result of what the speaker has said.
    Perhaps you’ll cover note-taking in one of your next talks.

    • Elaine Northcutt says:

      Hello David–

      I can help you with this dilemma.

      When I went back to college in my 30s (my post-secondary education was anything but a smooth path), I discovered that my best learning modality was listening. In the process of re-listening to lectures on British history A and B!, I fine tuned my ability to discriminate between the substantive facts and narrative from the tangential information.

      From that experience– I was able distinguish threads of ambiguity, questions, stream of consciousness processes from the formal structured outline of the lecture and or class. A regular party up in my head. How to deal with that. . .

      I discovered something called law-ruled paper.

      1. for the first two or so lectures, I would transcribe (by hand) the notes I had taken in class. That gave me sense of pacing, language, movement, use of the white/blackboard, . . and somehow, I would get a sense of what was important.

      2. top right margin: date | week-# | lecture-#, p.-#
      3. Left column: written in black ink– non-linear thinking, tangents, questions, key words, phrases that would trigger the pertinent thread/thought.
      4. Right column: written in blue– formal structure of lecture– key words, phrases– just enough to capture the “idea” or concept– or pattern, or relationship.
      5. I never use a numbering system, ie 1., 1.1, 1.2 etc. too hard to remember. Instead I use this heirarching:
      — (dash)
      * (bullet)
      > (carrot)
      # (pound sign)
      1) numbering if it go that detailed.
      In that way– I never had to expend energy thinking what number I was on when I’m on my third page of notes.

      6. Anything really important gets a big asterisk * / !!! / a check mark with a arabic number in the cradle. often cross-referenced to the same tick mark in the text. Letter “a” in the margin simply meant there was a word that I need to look up and the letter “b” means there is reference to a pertinent text or book. The letter “Q:” precedes any query from your head– from wherever it appears.

      Back to your point though about what the other person is saying.

      1. If the person has prepared for the meeting– then there will be at least 1/2/3 or key ideas– they should articulate those up front. That is worth jotting down.

      2. They may or may not fill in idea 1, 2, 3. That is how you can tell whether or not they are focused on the information they are giving and whether it is important to them to convey that.

      3. 9/10ths of waht you are doing is listening. the 1/10 is writing. If you have a system and landscape in place upon which to posit the threads of non-linear thinking and formal structure– along with questions that pop up

      4. Being able to write cursive is critical– printing is like writing in heiroglics– tension free. Some days I write like a schizophrenic– because there is too much tension. I seem to write best — in the very early morning. It’s a remarkable phenomenon. I practiced cursive writing– and for the most part my writing is legible to me. But it is important to have a style that flows easily.

      One of the books I would like to read is Eric Fromm’s the art of listening: here is a link a summary of same at brain pickings

      . . .If you master this basic technique– it will become very clear very quickly whether or not the person speaking or giving a presentation has thought through the material.

      going off on a tangent isn’t a bad thing– it forces the listener to think spacially and globally– as long, the presenter comes back to the main topic.

      . . .if you are just focusing on what they are “saying” its the equivalent of trying to read with a magnifying glass, you miss a lot. If you can focus on the “message”, the “purpose” — and simply absorb the character, manner delivery– of the presentation– you are more likely to capture the essence of what their purpose is.

      .. .if there is written material that comes before– use that as a guide-post.

      This is a “stereophonic” approach. It validated the dialogue in my head– creating a context for understanding whatever it might have been– with the whatever the rational and process/sequencing being offered externally.

      . . Several times, I was able to go to office hours and trace a particular idea or point with the instructor– and they would realize that they either forgot that point– or more interestingly brought a whole new way of thinking based on the contextualization I created for myself in order to understand the original point.

      Be happy to share this process in a visual format anytime. You can reach me at [email protected]

      Kind regards– Elaine.

      I’m just seeing the note below mine— by Lisa Sansom– which brings up another solution entirely.

      There is Livescribe: a friend of mine who is a management type– swears by it because it captures the entire meeting– and no one can accuse her of saying that this or that was not disucssed. it’s right there …. in the pen. This sure isn’t Kansas anymore, is it!

    • Rometta Ison says:

      Ditto what has also been my processing frustration. Please Do educated us on meaningful note taking skills.
      Sincere Appreciation,
      Rometta Ison
      [email protected]
      605. Valley View Ave. S/W
      Leesburg, VA. 20175-3835

    • Re. Note-taking: I have always taken notes by longhand. My process is to write not only what the person is saying but to frame my notes to remember the topic or statement in terms of my own understanding. Note-taking in and of itself is ineffective unless it is tied to a purposeful understanding or personal point of view on the subject matter – it makes me think and dive deeper to expand on the thoughts expounded in my notes for later review. By the way, I preserve and organize my notes on any given subject by scanning them and then sending them to a designated “notebook” on Microsoft OneNote (free application – integrates with Outlook). Hope that this makes some sense and may be helpful.

  5. Jose Ochoa says:

    Fully agree… but you can use technology to do that, and the laptop is not the right one.
    You can use intelligent pens (like livescribe ones) and digital paper (like Anoto’s) and make mental maps while you are taking notes, and register the details on audio file.
    I “sharpen” my Apple pencil every time I take notes in a meeting, course or conference on virtual notebook (I use Noteshelf, but the are lots of apps like this) on my iPad.

  6. Lindsay Marrin says:

    The Pinkcast is always reading my mind. Love it!

    As an obsessive taker of handwritten notes, I recently gave up paper for a Yoga Book (unintended plug). My scribbles go straight to Evernote for the best of both worlds and I feel a little better about my carbon footprint too.

  7. John Milewski says:

    I too am a compulsive note taker, Dan. To add fuel to your fire, there are studies that show we stimulate the memory centers of our brains when we write characters and that doesn’t happen when we type on a keyboard. So there’s an added bonus associated with handwritten note taking.

  8. Lisa Sansom says:

    There are uses and roles for both – if you need more of a verbatim record, then use the laptop. But if you are seeking to remember and analyze and be engaged in the material, then take hand-written notes. I’ve tried both at conferences and I write all my conference notes now. However, in a meeting where we need a record of what was said and done and who was assigned to what, take in the laptop, take the notes in the meeting and send them out immediately as a record for everyone. Enjoying the Pinkcast, as always! And great shout-out to Farnam Street in your newsletter – been following Shane for a long time and happy to hear you give him some recognition!

  9. Spot on! I just don’t retain in my head what I transcribe on the computer. Besides, while not a Luddite, I just cannot get past the sensory experiences of handwriting.


  10. I have heard about this research. I am curious. Was there any research done about transferring written notes to digital later? Like Kok Hwa Lim above, I transfer my notes to Evernote so they are in one place and easily searchable. I am a visual thinker so having handwritten notes is good for me too because I remember what they looked like. I often use different colors and make images. This doesn’t transfer to typed notes

  11. Hi Dan,

    I’ve been a fan of yours for many years and especially enjoyed reading “A Whole New Mind.”

    Thank you for the thoughtful insight on note taking. Digital technology offers many benefits, but it has also resulted in under estimating the importance of using our tactile sense to reinforce meaning. Although each individual may find it easier to learn using one of our five senses over another, we all appreciate our sense of touch for many reasons and in many situations.

    Our sense of touch is important; we rely on it for countless reasons and especially long for it when separated by distance from people we love. We receive neurological and emotional messages by doing things like picking up a pen or pencil to write and a piece of paper or notebook in which to write. We store a memory of how our written notes looked on the page, (neat/messy, scattered/organized, within defined margins/outside of defined margins, etc.), the feel of skin against the page as we write and the tension of holding our pencil, and the sound of pen moving across the page. Those (and other) associations help us internalize the words and images we create. They are “added value” cues, so to speak, that reinforce our thought processes during the act of writing and then of remembering.

    It’s not that we derive none of these benefits from typing our notes, but I think that handwriting can offer a richer, more valuable sensual experience. Similarly, I think those tactile experiences are what make reading a book a more “real” and rewarding experience than reading the same material online or even on a digital reading device–at least for some people.

  12. Dan, thanks for the great advice–and proof–that note taking is better than typing. I find it easier to stay engaged in a meeting or discussion if I’m taking notes, instead of typing like a crazy person to record everything verbatim. Apparently, science proves this. In an important presentation, I may audio record while taking notes and then jot down the time for something important that I want to listen to later for clarification.

    Phil Symchych

  13. Dave Kinnear says:

    I agree with this whole notion of handwritten notes AND I manage to do so using my hybrid PC! So I get the best of both worlds, I hand write my notes, in One Note (other apps work well too, such as Evernote) on my Surface PC. It’s fabulous. Clients know I’m taking notes, there’s no screen between us and I get the benefits of handwriting my notes. Of course, I can’t read my own writing, but that’s a separate issue!

  14. Dave Rakowski says:

    Have recently started taking handwritten notes on my Samsung Chromebook Plus. Willing to bet the same research findings apply, but will be curious to see if someone updates in a few years to take into account electronic handwriting capture devices like the Surface, etc.

    Good stuff as always Dan—makes me think!


  15. Cesar says:

    Thanks for this great reminder that reinforces my love for taking notes, writing and filling hundreds of notepads and always carrying a pocket size notepad and a pencil so I can capture any idea on the spot. The challenge for me though, is to keep them organized. A diary is also a great help. On this last, I recommend an old Jim Rohn’s audiobook about how to make and keep a diary.

  16. Frank Blossom says:

    Raking notes with a pen and paper recharges your brain batteries instead of the computer’s.

  17. Anne says:

    Thanks for sharing a thought provoking study!

    I think it is important not to overgeneralize, especially because assistive and augmentative tech increases inclusion of neurodiverse individuals, and there are great benefits to that. For example, many students with learning differences (1 in 5 of us have one) have great difficulty with longhand, and do much better when they are allowed to keyboard instead.

    As I read the article,which did not control for the presence of learning differences, I see the correlation between taking notes that summarize, rather than record, and improved performance. I don’t see a strong correlation between keyboarding vs. handwriting if both are summarizing though. That makes my conclusion as a proponent of neurodiversity a little different.

    I suggest we teach quality notetaking and metacognition rather than focusing on the tools that are used.
    For example, I do a lot of highlighting and circling/arrow drawing as I keyboard notes, and that means I don’t have time for verbatim note taking.

    Also, isn’t it a little bit of leap to state that this is because we synthesize when we take summary notes longhand? I saw the authors hypothesis of this in the discussion with citations to other studies that show summary handwritten notes are better than verbatim handwritten notes, but I didn’t see any measures of synthesis. I’m playing devil’s advocate on this point and am truly curious to hear what others think on this point.

  18. Rod Burkert says:

    Best option … record the presentation so you have the verbatim record AND take notes. I am not worried about missing a key point if I know I can go back to the recording. I use ScreenFlow for webinars and my phone for live events.

  19. Freakanomics had an excellent podcast on this topic as well: As a personal opinion, it is also important to bring something to take notes on to every meeting and speaking event as a show of respect (even if no notes are actually taken). Failing to do so signals that whatever will be discussed is not worth memorializing. Thanks for the great information as always! ==> Patch

  20. Jennifer Fagnani says:

    I’ve ALWAYS been a chronic note taker. I’ve been ribbed about it for decades by colleagues and classmates alike. Taking notes by hand helps me process the information, identify themes, organize thoughts and identify follow-up items. I even put a star next to things that need follow-up or action. I can go back after several months and revisit the meeting flow, context and key take-aways. I’ve also been known to take notes during difficult meetings where I didn’t agree with decisions or comments. Writing some of the disagreeable items down sometimes helps me formulate a productive response, rather than being reactive. So happy to learn that my love of notes is backed by science too. It also gives you beautiful penmanship! Thank you, Daniel Pink!

  21. Andy Frost says:

    This research makes all the sense in the world and squares with my experience. What I’m curious about, though, is what effect handwriting notes with an e-Pen on a tablet has. The focus of this research seems to be the effect of writing vs typing NOT paper vs computer. So, if I write with an e-Pen on a tablet, does that have the same beneficial effects as pencil and paper??

  22. If I write it by hand, I have a much higher likelihood of remembering it. I can often tell you where on the page it’s written. On the other hand, I have many typed docs that I must have written but if you showed them to me, I couldn’t tell you for sure.

    BTW – used the Field Guide notebook you sent me to keep training notes on my doggos.

  23. Lou Prosperi says:

    Thanks for another great episode.

    I’ve heard this distinction before (have you shared this same idea before?) and it makes total sense based on my experience. My tendency when taking notes on a computer is also to polish my notes as a I write them down. When writing by hand, there is no time for that.

    Note taking is a skill I need to work on. I find that when I try to take notes, I lose track of the conversation or presentation I’m trying to capture.



  24. Adrian von Wrede-Jervis says:

    The research you refer to Daniel is not just saying that it is speed thing. I’m not a fast typer, so I also need to summarise when I use a laptop.

    The suggestion is the we have body and visual memory too. Words typed on a laptop feels similar (just key taps) and look similar (Arial size 10) written words require formation from hand and have an authentic look of my own (bad/unique) handwriting. These components add memory to the material we take down. Obviously if you write lots this is more to remember so again synthesised summaries has an added benefit.

  25. I am not sure this argument is valid. Maybe I am just not a good typist but I cannot keep up with a speaker either by writing or typing. Way back when (60 years old), there were people who could sit in a lecture and write notes that were the equivalent of transcription (think stenographer) but did not demonstrate better knowledge. As a matter of fact, these people would be caught if asked a question. Ever hear the phrase, “Oh and what was the question again?” I think the real argument is over how to take notes. Personally, I like to listen (a rare skill these days) and then jot down “flag” comments to remind me of a point. How you process seems to me to be very individualistic.

  26. First thoughts, after watching video and before reading source:

    1. A notebook doesn’t distract you by whispering to you that you could be checking your email, social media. website of that Pink guy, etc. Score another one for the notebook.

    2. Some people (I hear) have handwriting so bad they can’t even read it themselves. Score one against the notebook.

  27. chris gargan says:

    I taught college for nearly 40 years and I preached this message from the moment portable computers became ubiquitous in the classroom. There are a couple of very obvious reasons.
    1. When you write notes, especially in cursive, the information is actually being processed in your brain in real time. And if you’re taking notes with any kind of diligence the organizational outline of the material being presented will reveal itself in the notes. You’ll actually create an outline not too dissimilar from the professor’s.
    2. Any visual information presented can be recorded either as a thumbnail sketch or diagram. Try that with a computer keyboard.
    3. It’s an actual physical record that can be photocopied, stored, and easily shared. It makes it easier to insert footnotes or text references that clarify the information.
    4. There’s a physical object that leaves you with a sense of satisfaction if done well. If a student asked a question that I had covered I could say: Let’s look at your notes. If there was a misunderstanding or an omission of information it was more easily spotted. And from my point of view I could identify areas where my performance could be improved, especially if a number of students faced similar issues. On the flip side, a student who made an egregious error could compare their notes more quickly with their peers to spot the outlying mistake.

  28. Ray Poynter says:

    This will be true for some people. But for people like me and members of my family the choice is either a) take notes or b) understand what is being said. This is because for us the cognitive load of taking notes is too high, fighting dyslexia. Add to that the problem that I usually cannot read my own writing (I a 60 so this is not a modern teaching problem). So, when I take notes, I take them during the pauses in what is being said, and they are therefore a summary, ideally I take them via keyboard. If I have to use a pen/pencil I need to type them up before I forget what those scribbles mean.

    My point, which is a simple one, is that there is rarely a single solution that suits everybody.

  29. Jim Calhoun says:

    I hope I followed this correctly. The point for note taking is not to transcribe but to summarize and synthesize. I type so slow that I have to summarize and synthesize when using my laptop. This is critical as well when I take notes on my phone notes page. In addition, my handwriting is so bad that often I can’t read what I have written. This is especially true if I go back to my notes after several days. As I write this I am remembering that I often use the digital notes by copying and pasting the ideas into a blog, paper, or other document and then expanding upon what I previously have written. So I wonder if the emphasis should be on summary and synthesis and not on hand written notes. Just a thoughts.

  30. Barbara Menefree says:

    People around me notice that I take notes . . . but . . . I take very interesting and artful notes. When I handwrite notes, it is like “writing it on my brain”. Additionally, I make stars beside action items (which I can later check off); I can emphasize with underlines; and I often, create a set of questions/ideas for me to explore later. When I am trying to recall a situation, I can flip back through my notebooks and WHAM! I have easy recall of WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE I was when I captured those notes. I sometimes mindmap; sometimes, draw pictures; and sometimes, I use an OLD skill of mind from high school business class — shorthand. I enjoyed this PinkCast as it validated my note-taking. Thanks!

  31. Dan,
    Thanks for articulating the distinction between synthesizing and transcribing what’s being captured in our notes using these two very different means of note taking. I’m also taking away from your video that:
    1) Faster isn’t always better
    2) Accuracy when it comes to ideas is not the prize but rather what are my take-aways
    3) Other idea based work: ideation, inquiry may also benefit from a pen or pencil and paper approach

  32. Oh I completely agree – it is no contest. How can one do a quick mind-map to capture what you are hearing except with paper. I write bits of text sprouting out of other bits. I go up the page and down the page – nothing of it is linear.

  33. Marcia says:

    Hi! I’m a teacher and in my classes students do take photos to the blackboard and I think it’s mainly the same idea than using laptops to take notes, they are not going to look them again unless is important information for the final exam. I prefer if they transcribe the information. I used to think those were my crazy ideas about knowledge… So good to know there’s something scientifically proved.

  34. Justin says:

    This is the BEST news I have had all week! I can tell my clients to put their computers away when I am working with them! And I don’t need to worry about them replying to emails or checking Facebook at the same time! Thanks DP!

  35. Ryan Hagglund says:

    I still like to have a digital copy of my notes, which is why I used a tablet PC long before they were in general use and now a Microsoft Surface. It allows me to take notes by hand, but have a digital copy that I can have with me anywhere, including in my iPhone. It’s a great combination. It allows allows for use of colors and different pen types while not having to care a full set of pens with you.

  36. Kevin Young says:

    I would make one exception to this: I have created an outline template in Word that allows me to create great-looking outlines on the fly. If I am taking notes in outline format, then I am forced to think about what is being said so I can create a summary that nests ideas together in a logical fashion. By thinking in outline format I am automatically organizing the ideas, and I have found this allows me to capture information in a way that I remember longer and can review more effectively. If I am writing by hand (which I also do often), I tend to mind-map, or if it is a meeting where I don’t much new information I tend to just write brief reminder statements and anything that requires a follow-up action.

  37. Stacy Fetters says:

    I have found that when I take notes by hand the information tends to stay in my brain. I feel that even the act of writing engraves the information in my brain. I try to pick the pints that I think are important. I then sometimes rewrite them more neatly , which further helps me memorize or retain the important info.
    I think it’s sad that handwriting seems to be going out of style. I hope people realize that it is important and sort of an art form that it would be sad to lose.

  38. Lev says:

    Every time I write a note at the end of the day before I go to sleep, I don’t have to look at the note again, it’s fresh on my mind. However I do want to disagree with Daniel about going back to my notes 2 weeks later, unfortunately, my writing is no better than chicken scratch so it is easier for me to understand my notes on a laptop than on a pad of paper.

    Thanks, Dan always great listening and getting involved in the response section of the pinkcast

  39. John Almash says:


    Agree completely. If you do it with a laptop it sits in a file in your hard drive. Whereas if you take notes, ‘Yes’ you synthesize it and you also have it at hand to reference.

  40. Tom says:

    What about taking notes with a tablet. I’ve been writing on my tablet for about 5 years (since 2012) using OneNote. The ability to have as much paper as you need, to have multiple note pages and to be able to search (OneNote does an on the fly OCR when you search) makes it so much more capable as a platform. Not to mention that you can (I don’t) convert everything to text. I always thought this would be a killer app for a tablet but alas it has never caught on!

  41. JulieP says:

    Perhaps laptop users could learn to resist the urge to transcribe and instead actively practice summarizing when typing, creating an immediately digitized and more legible version of what would otherwise be handwritten notes? Or is the ‘magic’ in the hand-mind connection? Would touchscreen eventually work into this equation?

  42. Sarah says:

    Yes! There was an article about this in Business Week in January 2011:

  43. Bette F says:

    Thanks, Dan. I’ve always been a note taker and am often asked why I don’t use the laptop/tablet – “it’s so much easier.” Transcribing is definitely what I do when I have tried using the tablet and feel that I end up missing some of the key message. Cannot capture some graphics that help to support a point on the tablet. I’ll stick with my pen and paper

  44. The continuing debate about digital learning and its impact is so relevant. Thanks Dan for your new style newsletter and Pinkcast which is short, sweet and useful.

  45. AliceNiki says:

    Thanks Dan for sharing the video. I totally agree with using pen/paper for taking notes as retention is better after the effect/event. However, If I want to capture 100% of what was said/mentioned I would type as I can type fast. I agree with Lou that taking notes and how to summarize it is a skill, and I need it badly.

  46. Mungai Kihanya says:

    I can never write notes on computer – computer is too orderly! How do you encircle an important word or phrase using a keyboard? How do you draw a curved arrow to an earlier point? And so on an so forth.

  47. Sai Bhupalam says:

    Hi Dan – this has always been a pet peeve of mine – especially when working with students. Students have become so lazy and addicted to ‘smart’ technology that their phones are getting smarter and they are getting dumber – applies to us adults too depending on how we use tech and how dependent we are on it. Students often ask for a soft copy of either a presentation or a word list (when I the vocabulary to GRE/SAT students) and I ask them to take notes in their own hand writing. They don’t like it but I make them do it.

    One other reason I do this is when they write stuff down (and I explain it to them), they are creating better neural nets and the memory processing is better. They remember and recall more things and their creativity is enhanced in terms of note taking techniques (I teach that as well) – note taking is an art/skill in itself and comes in handy way beyond graduate school.

    Thanks for the great Pinkcast.

  48. Betsy says:

    I learned in college what I write I remember… even if I never go over my notes again. I also found out when I tried taking notes electronically that I don’t remember what I “type”. So I went back to written notes and back to remembering what I write. I carry around a beautiful lined book at work for all my meeting notes and daily lists and plans. (That way if I leave it somewhere people know it’s mine and return it). I find I can also find my lists and plans easily because I know what they look like. Ink color, spacing, stars and underlines if I do need to refer back to something. You would never find that electronically. Thanks Dan for showing there is a reason!

  49. I have been scribbling notes in book margins and notebooks for as long as I can remember. I have also struggled with the question of digital or handwritten. Like others have mentioned, it depends on the purpose and circumstances. But at the end of the day, if I actually write it out on paper, I will remember it. Now, just where is that piece of paper?

    Thanks for your insights.

  50. Wayne Hynd says:

    Thanks to all!

    I’ve used quite a few of the suggestions over the years and this discussion inspired me to come up with an easy-to-use method that may work for many of you, both digerati and Luddite!

    1) Take handwritten notes using mind-mapping techniques. (This allows flexibility to capture as much or as little detail as appropriate and to “instantly” organize sub-topics.) (As many of you already know, really nice paper makes this a true pleasure, but definitely use a pencil!)

    2) Use CamScanner (thanks, Marissa!) to “capture” handwritten to digital. (Available on both iPhone and Android…outstanding app.)

    3) THEN: Use tags in CamScanner, or upload the mindmap/note to Google Keep, Evernote, etc., and tag/keyword them there, so when you need to refer to the handwritten notes, you can instantly find them, even though they are still in the original “handwritten” form.

    Voila! You have the best of both worlds—analog and digital!

  51. Thanks for the reminder Dan; to me, it’s especially crucial (and denotes a good domain of the subject) when it comes to drawing, on a white paper, at any sales meeting, a “vision of solution”. Since 90% of the information sent to our brain is visual, this becomes suddenly a competitive, unexpected advantage… Thank you! / Alejandro

  52. Thanks for your information which I agree with. Can’t cite references on the science but I also have come to believe that we write something down it hits our brains in a more memorable than when we type into our computers. That being said, I find computer note taking much more efficient because I can transcribe quickly and attach as notes for Clients when they want a summary of our coaching sessions. Also, I’m able to read my computer’s handwriting!

  53. Jim Riley says:

    I totally agree about taking handwritten notes. Also, there is a concept called multi-sensory perception which says that the more senses you use in a learning environment the more you will retain. By taking notes you are using hearing, sight and touch. I use Neo pen for note taking which in addition to putting my notes on paper also records ithem electronically.

  54. Rick Bentley says:

    Thanks for the insightful PinkCast. Years ago I learned a scripting method used when I observed and evaluated teachers for a living. The method was refined over 20+ years of intensive usage. A few years ago I found my box of teacher scripts and upon reading my handwritten notes I could visualize the classroom, what happened during the lesson and how children (middle and high school students) were included in the learning. I tried various computer programs but the results were spotty. The handwritten note rules! In closing, nice product placement, I love my Field Notes. Look forward to your next installment.

    • Rick Kutcher says:

      I, too, like the handwritten better. My typing is not fast enough to catch everything, and I can use a crude short-hand to capture more info. It also helps to solidify points in my head.

      Rick Bentley,
      I’m interested in your scripting method, as I just became an admin and will be evaluating teachers. Would you be willing to share? You can email me at [email protected].

  55. Peter Gfader says:

    What about taking notes by hand writing on a digital device as on an iPad Pro with a proper pencil? Or a Microsoft surface?

    In my experience I have both advantages. Great memory, summarizing works, doodling pictures is easy and a digital copy for later. And some software can search through hand written notes via OCR technology.

    Do you have experiences to share?

  56. Steve Anklam says:

    I will be sharing this post with others in the office. Also, just subscribed to the Field Notes products.

  57. I have been working on becoming more of a doodle notetaker so that I have visual notes. This forces my brain to not only summarize information, but quickly decide on visual representations of the information I am learning. I think my retention has improved. However, so that I don’t get hung up on the perfect doodle, I now use an iPad and the Apple Pencil. I think it’s a perfect blend – I can snap a photo of a graphic to place in my notes while handwriting my notes and not have to switch tools.

  58. As I get I get older I find it is better if I write it down, which I probably should have done, to begin with honestly it saves a lot of time. I have a handy notebook in my bag always with me. Thank you.

  59. chris gargan says:

    what happened to my comment?

  60. Paul says:

    I recently worked with a team that used Google notes in all of our meetings. What was interesting about that is that multiple people could be adding in things from the discussion and could then capture the various topics that came up during the meetings. The other plus side to that was the it was then all digitized and available for review, something we did on a quarterly basis. Because my typing speed was not equal to some of the other teams members, I was much more of a verbal participant in the meeting and found myself only adding in something to notes taken by others. I feel like I got the best of both worlds in that situation. I think it is a matter of individual vs. group and what you want to come away with. For my own work I tend to keep notes, even if someone is typing them during the meeting on screen for all to see. Interesting and changing topic.

  61. This was great! I took notes, pen on paper in my notebook.

  62. Any printable can assist you in a better way than any other form. Many formats can be followed and achieved success.

  63. Walter Akana says:

    Great Pinkcast, Dan!

    Having shredded, over the past few years, several file boxes of notes, I now only take notes electronically.

    How I take them depends on the device available to me in the moment. Sometimes it’s my iPad Pro, but most often it’s a device that requires keyboard input.

    The good news is that I generally tend to synthesize versus transcribe!

  64. Tozé says:

    I agree, even writing a lot on keyboard, notes taken by hand uses a broader brain.

    Also watch:

  65. Tom says:

    Another good reason to use paper and pen is that you can doodle. 🙂

  66. Larry England says:

    One advantage of electronic note-taking is the ability to search through a mountain of notes quickly and to use various filtering techniques to narrow down something even years later. So, perhaps a combination of both – take notes ‘the old fashioned way’ and then transcribe them into electronic form. This uses repetition to cement the thoughts as well.

  67. Absolutely agree Dan the note taking by hand is the best way to internalize information. Of course I also use the iphone notes app to take a lot of notes on books it is easier for me to have it electronically to read it as well during any downtime.

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