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How To: Efficiently Take Notes


If you take your career and yourself seriously, you’ll notice that you’re always jotting something down. Even if you’re not physically writing an idea on a Sticky Note, taking notes happen in every day situations. When you drive by an interesting spot, get a quick directive from your boss or need to retain any type of information, mental notes are being taken. For the tough and for the seemingly simple, there are two easy ways to make sure you always have the information you need.

Usually, when you’re writing something down to capture it, there is a method of note-taking that you innately use. To retain information, it is easier to actively process the details given- this means reading, writing, or discussing information. This is why most people are usually visual learners or analytical learners.

flow chart

Visual Learners will benefit from mapping; this can be either diagrams or flow charts. Mapping incorporates using words and figures that link to a concept. In the center of a page the main idea can be circled with branches of subtopics or ideas that will explain the main idea. Mapping is beneficial because you can always add to this flow chart or figure later. It can also be used for brainstorming. The downfall with this system is that it cannot be used for exhaustive note-taking or when you are under time constraints. Try the Evernote app on your phone or try XMind on your computer to transfer mapping into an outline.



If you’re an Analytical Learner, outlines are for you. Linear note-taking works by utilizing header bullets that list the main ideas and lower-level bullets of information that support that main thought. Taking notes by hand this way can be tough in case you need to add extra information afterwards, however, if you’re using a laptop, it becomes a bit easier seeing that you can rearrange and add additional text freely. This method can be used for to-do lists or information that is being served quickly.


Visual or analytical, left brain or right brain, whatever your method of understanding is, it is imperative to be efficient. When you are prepared to carry all of what you have learned with you, you’ll be able to face any situation, class or meeting with ease.






Learn more about active learning here.