Following on from my Blog, Forever the Notetaker, and the Power of the Lilac Highlighter, I was curious to know just how often and how people took notes.

As we are all on Zoom so often now, our note-taking has changed somewhat and I don’t see many people taking copious notes, and that set my curious mind racing.

I sent a link to a Feedback form a few weeks ago asking some questions about this, 35 people replied, so I thought it would be useful to let you know the outcome of this survey as there was quite a large sample. Thanks to all of you that completed it.

It seems that many are avid notetakers in various forms and that they see the power of taking notes for and whatever use they find most appropriate.


So clearly we can see that everyone takes notes and good old pen and paper is preferred. Many have notebooks as opposed to just paper and some use notebooks for particular subjects for easy retrieval. A couple of people use a Remarkable2, others use Apple Notes, OneNote & Rocketbook. The latter was new to me, as I am sure the Remarkable is to all of you all too. These mediums provide a digital alternatives with the look and feel of putting pen to paper.

When asked what people took notes for exactly there were various replies;

  • Workshops & Webinars
  • Networking Meetings & 121s
  • Team Meetings & taking minutes
  • When carrying out research
  • Making To-Do Lists
  • Ideas & Brainstorming

it seems that many people use a pencil and a sharp one at that. Like myself  (when I don’t use my Remarkable) quite a few people like an ink pen! (I can recommend Pilot or Lamy)

When asked how they took notes, again there were various answers;

  • As fast as I can
  • Using Abbreviations
  • Writing down Key points only
  • Highlighting and underlining
  • Using Circles and other codes
  • Using different coloured pens

There were also some who said they wrote

  • sticky notes
  • emailed notes to themself afterward
  • Wrote up notes in ‘word’ after a meeting and then destroyed the paper once they had saved the word document digitally
  • Transferred notes from one book to another like a To-Do list
  • Dictated notes into file notes.

It seems the connection between pen and paper is seen as a sure way of clarifying and remembering things and taking notes is seen as vital to business owners today. However, it does seem that many people are not saving them digitally !!!! This could be as this is seen as a duplication of time and effort or perhaps just that they have not explored this methodology. My recommendation would be to start saving things digitally if you can. I fought this idea like an electronic diary but was swiftly converted.

I have to say FOR YEARS I was also a pen and paper gal. Since running my business I have taken more and more notes and needed to refer back to them almost daily. As time flew by several notebooks lay in piles in my office and I often wasted time trying to find and remember which book which notes were in. That was until I invested in a digital notebook that allows me to prep my notes, write straight onto the file during the meeting in my own handwriting (convert to text if I want to) draw pictures and annotate accordingly. I can save all my notebooks into files for easy retrieval and import documents and download pdfs from the web or from an email that someone had sent to me. I can also email my notes to someone and annotate on the pdf and make more notes – I was and am in heaven……….. I won’t write paper notes ever again  (well unless I forgot to take my Remarkable to  a meeting !)

There are many methods for taking notes but over the years I have developed my own way. A few people have or do use mind-mapping, some use Cornell and many have never used any methodology at all! I now have a knack of writing very fast notes and I use indentations, bullet points, codes, short cut images, along with underlining, & highlighting. It is important to take notes that you can fully understand at a later date and as many of you refer back to your notes it seems this is a crucial thing to get right.

It also seems that 3/4 of you would love to have some hints and tips on how to take notes more effectively, so watch this space!


I hope you found this useful and many thanks to all of you who took the time to feedback on this subject – it has been very interesting.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.