Like many students, I have spent a lot of time in school writing. Whether it is essays, lecture notes or exam reviews, I always find myself jotting down concepts and ideas, even if it’s just a few words. Sometimes I even find myself color coding concepts, making my notes a quick and easy reference for when I’m writing a paper or studying for an exam. Note taking lets me go back and review a concept I might not have fully understood the first time it was explained.
As an intern, I have noticed that my need to take notes is not going anywhere when I enter the working world. In fact, I may need them even more than I do for school. Although your manager is probably not going to stop a meeting to say “you’ll want to write this down, it’ll be on the exam,” notes in the workplace serve the same purpose as they do in class. They serve as a perfect reference to complete a task efficiently. Jotting down notes during a team meeting or a phone call can help keep you focused and make recalling important information easier.
Here are five tips for taking effective notes at work:
- For some weird reason I could spend hours in the office supply isle, but it doesn’t require that much commitment. Take a few minutes to find a favorite pen and buy post- it notes in your favorite color. If you prefer digital notes, find an app or program that is simple to navigate. Finding products you like working with will make note taking easy.
- Write what you want to remember. Have you ever had such a good thought that you can’t even remember what it was? Good ideas and important details are always worth writing down. Not every if, and, or but of a conversation needs to be documented, but you’ll thank yourself later for writing down details like names, dates, phone numbers and genius ideas.
- You’ll want to make sure your notes are written and kept in an organized manner. Effective notes will be written differently from person to person. Some people prefer headings with bullet points; some may prefer highlighting different concepts in different colors. Some people may develop symbols and shorthand that make their notes look like Morse code to others. Whatever the method, find one that works best for you.
- There is no point in taking notes if you won’t be able to find them when you need them. Buying a notebook, binder or folder to keep your notes in will make them easy to locate and hard to mistake as desk clutter.
- Take a few minutes to review the notes you took. A quick review will make it easy to reference them in the future.