Make a note – Nat Stat Week Day 1

Studying, journalling, minuting a meeting – there’s heaps of scenarios where it pays to have good note taking skills. So to kick start Nat Stat Week, I’m sharing some thoughts on how to make a note.

Every page should have its highlights

If you’ve got a lot of notes to make it’s wise to pick out the key points. This helps when you’re reading back through them. Stabilo’s pastel highlighters are my current favourites.

Pastel highlighter in action

Pick a pocket or three

An Every Day Carry or EDC is indispensable when you need to make a note on the go. And pocket notebooks fulfil this function perfectly. Regular readers will know I have a penchant for a Field Notes Brand three pack, but I’m in the market for a new crush and  Nero’s Notes carry an amazing selection. Right now I’m torn between Nomad Notebooks and Dapper Notes, so maybe I’ll just have to try them both! Nomad notebooks have mixed paper, which is something I’m so here for, while Dapper have some gorgeous covers whether you prefer a pop of colour or something patterned.

One of my favourite Field Notes editions

Bullet points are best

All planner girls and guys know that bullet points are essential if you want to make a note of something. Bullet points encourage brevity, which makes them easy to read and digest. And there’s no need to stick to a plain old dot. Stars, arrows and check boxes all work well. But if you’re bullet journalling all marks mean something so don’t forget to add their significance to your index.

The BuJo Key page gives you space to add your own marks

Stick it to ‘em

Sticky notes are perfect if you want to make a quick note. And they come in all shapes and sizes. These rainbow stickies by Mustard have been brightening up my hotdesk of late. Or you can keep things classic with standard squares of course. Most come in a variety of shades so you can colour code if that’s your thing.

Rainbow sticky notes

Shorthand sweet

You may not know Pitmans or Teeline, but it’s helpful to have your own shorthand system. Finding a way to render words from lines, dashes or symbols will accelerate your note taking. Remember to keep it legible and consistent though, otherwise you’ll have a page of notes that mean nothing to no one. Yes, I am speaking from experience!

Dusting off my Teeline skills

Whats the best way to make a note?

Share your hints and tips in the comments. And check back for more Nat Stat Week Celebrations. I’ve posted on this year’s themes and other days stationery addicts like to celebrate. In the meantime, happy note-taking.

2 Replies to “Make a note – Nat Stat Week Day 1”

  1. Thanks for your numerous tips and tricks.

    I mostly used a mechanical pencil for note taking throughout school and university, often 0.5 or 0.7 mm with a B or 2B lead so writing was darker and felt softer. I never had to cap a pen or worry about refilling & spilling liquid, it was both durable & erasable.

    At home I always went through my notes as soon as possible, deleted unnecessary information (often you only know afterwards what was really important and what became self-explanatory during the course), sorted everything, added information (authors of books referred to, library signatures etc.) and wrote it all out neatly with one of my beloved fountain pens. This seems counter intuitive when you try to save time, but in the end I saved that time on learning, also I never had any gaps in my knowing of the content. Now that I have children aged 8 & 9 I ‘convince’ them to do the same, to rather repeat and sort in small portions than wait for a lot of material to amass and be overwhelmed. They are very good students so it seems to be working. Their edited notes are very neat and they really enjoy both their beautiful notes as best grades. And really: It only takes about 10-20 Minutes each day and saves them a lot of frustration afterwards.

    As you mentioned, having your own system for abbreviating is very useful. In German there are many words with end-syllables, similar to English -ness, -ful, -ing. I never wrote those, made little knots for “and” etc.

    Dating and tagging/labelling everything is another hot tip. It seems to be superfluous at first but even days afterwards you will have forgotten time and context.

    Don’t be arrogant: You will not keep everything in your head, so your notes will have to be your memory. Keep them as functional and informational as possible!

    1. These are great tips, Julie – thank you! So important as you say to revisit and enrich notes after you’ve had time to digest. I love the many studies accounts on Insta – there’s some beautiful note-taking on display. It sounds like your two children are already getting into great habits! Tagging and labelling is something I’d definitely like to do more of. Nothing worse than when you know you’ve got great notes on something and just cannot find them in amongst everything else.

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