When I started work at MartianCraft I decided that I would try to shake up some of the ways I worked. It felt like the right time. And since I knew there was going to be a great deal of things I would be learning, my note taking system seemed like the ideal candidate.
I threw out my entire structure for digital notes, grabbed a few Field Notes and started scribbling notes in them. After a month or so, I had decided the experiment was enough of a success to warrant moving to a better notebook. I looked around and decided on the Leuchtturm1917 journal as it looked nice, had solid reviews, and mostly it was on Prime.
Except, the research doesn’t back this up at all, which is a large reason I decided to make a go at hand written notes. What many studies have found is that students taking handwritten notes instead of typed notes, perform better in recalling the subject matter and in being tested/graded on the subject matter than do their counterparts who took notes on a laptop.
As I thought back over the frustration of searching analog notes, I realized that I only really searched through them a handful of times. Talk about exaggerating memories. I also realized most of those searches could have been predicted. Because of this I have started to use the infinity symbol on the top of a page of notes which contains things I think I might want to later search for. This will hopefully be a flag upon which I can home in on when I am searching a book of notes. The trick will be using it sparingly.
What is really bothering me about all of this, is I can’t wrap this up with a neat bow and tell you whether or not analog notes are better. It bothers me not because it makes for a crappy ending to an article, but because I really want to know for myself.
My system, since I started using pen and paper for notes almost four years ago, have been to use pen and paper when I do it to remember it, and to use digital when I know that it is something I am going to search for later.