Considering that we’ve been taking notes ever since we were taught how to write in cursive (a dying art, by the way), it’s surprising just how many people still struggle to record important information down efficiently (and actually revisit them at a later point—the whole point behind taking notes). While traditional tools like trusty Moleskines and cloud-based note taking app Evernote have made their way into many people’s arsenals, here a few more ways to enhance the note-taking experience—and perhaps, help you get through a particularly stale rut.
For Seamless, Real-time Collaboration: Coggle
Coggle is free webapp (only requiring a Google account) that allows for collaborative, real-time note-taking. With a simple, clean UX, it’s a tool for creating diagrams, or mind maps that can be easily shared and are even more easy to read and understand. All your notes, on one slide—not thirty. Features include easily dragging images from the desktop to the diagram, and best of all, history mode allows you to “resurrect” older versions. As one Twitter user told them: “You’re like detangling spray for a messy knot of ideas.”
Photo courtesy of Mark Murphy
To Let the Ideas Flow: Post-it Notes
Who knew that the Post-it note, originally meant to bookmark and label documents, could become a much-adored innovation tool used by designers—Tim Brown of IDEO among them—as a way to brainstorm and problem-solve? We think they make a pretty efficient alternative to a notebook, too. During your next meeting, take a pad of Post-its and write down each action item after the meeting on its own Post-it (or use one Post-it for each topic, for better organization). And because the medium itself is so temporary, it urges you to get those tasks implemented—and it feels great to physically “cross” things off your list, aka crumple the Post-it and toss it away. To make things even smoother, Evernote and 3M have partnered to amplify the potential of a Post-it; with the app’s new Post-it Note camera and other engineering advances, it’s easier to bring the paper sticky notes into the digital realm.
Photo courtesy of Jason Alderman
Channel Your Inner Artist and Visualize Your Notes: Sketchnotes
One quick scroll through experience designer Jason Alderman‘s Twitter feed will put your sore excuse for note-taking to shame. Outside of work, he’s known for “sketchnoting” at conferences, or takes illustrative visual notes—in real time—during speaker sessions. Not only are the results crisp, clean and beautiful, they’re so visually engaging that you’re compelled to revisit them over and over. View parts of his archive on Flickr, and prepare to be inspired—and actually learn something from someone else’s notes.