TAKE BETTER NOTES
How to Set Up A Hybrid Note-Taking System
The Subtle Reason Why I Have Two Note-Taking Systems (And Why You Should, Too)
If you’re taking notes and have a voyeur-tendency to know more about how others take effective notes… This article will feed some of your curiosity.
For ten years, I’ve been looking at my notes as “one dimensional”.
I was doing nothing else than saving information into my note-taking app:
Information about my everyday life, information about the stuff I learned, and my ideas.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, writing things down is a good way to keep track of them.
But then I started realizing that I was barely revisiting my notes.
In other words, I was saving a lot, but not that much engaging with it.
My routine looked like so:
1. Consuming content
2. Dumping information into my note-taking app
3. Going ahead with my day
After years, I realized that I had a serious problem with my note-taking system:
I was not taking notes; I was collecting them!
This triggered long months of research and transitioning, until I stumbled on the note-taking methodology called “Zettelkasten” (which is German and means “slip-box”).
The Zettelkasten seemed to be the solution to stop taking notes without revisiting them. It allows you to solidify your knowledge and come up with creative insights.
(The implementation was harsh, but several months later, I can say that it worked!)
Do You Really Need a Zettelkasten, or Is It Just the Latest Productivity Gimmick?
This Note-Taking App Methodology Is Gaining Popularity Right Now…
But, I still needed to keep track of my ideas, day-to-day tasks, and other stuff.
Since the Zettelkasten was not designed to handle this type of information, I started looking at my notes from a different perspective.
I separated my notes into two piles:
First, what I call my “dumb notes”.
My dumb notes are notes that contain information that simply needs to be retrieved (like my car VIN or Social Security Number.)
Second, my “smart notes”.
Smart notes contain information that I’m reusing in my content to solidify my knowledge and spark creative insights.
For my dumb notes, any “dumb” note-taking app could do the job: the one that ships with your smartphone, or popular tools like Evernote.
For my smart notes, I use apps that support bidirectional linking like Obsidian, Roam, or Remnote.
So here you have it: my hybrid note-taking system that allows me to manage every aspect of my life: personal and business.
I know that some people will yell that this story was “way too short!” and that they’re starving for more “meat!”
But hey — don’t be fooled by the shortness of this article.
I would recommend giving this way of organizing your notes a serious try, you’ll thank me later.
If you’d like to know more about leveling-up your note-taking skills, here’s what you can do now:
I’ve created a 7-day email course to help you set up your own note-taking system. You can get it for FREE by clicking here. (safe link to my website)