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Better Note Taking with Notion

TD’LR: You don’t need to pick one note-taking app, but you do need to choose your master app. Define a workflow and set rigour around it.

Angsty videos and medium posts on why folks selected a particular note-taking app mostly miss the real need – how to be productive, collaborate, and, well, forget less.

The answer is blindingly simple – take notes everywhere, anywhere, using anything. Just do it.

The tricks are:

  1. First: pick a master system – in my case, Notion – where all those thoughts and ideas can go to live.
  2. Second: define a simple workflow to get notes from wherever they were captured and into Notion. The tip here is to make it fast. So, I’ll drop a photo from a whiteboard into Notion rather than trying to recreate it.
  3. Third: establish a routine to get all your notes in one place. Every week I have a calendar block marked “download and clean” where everything goes into Notion. I even have a simple Notion checklist of everything I need to look at, from receipts buried in my bag to my notebook, Apple Photos and more.

So what about the notes capture? As I said, just do it.

Here are my big three:

  1. Old fashioned pen, paper and index cards. Scribble away, fuel that stationary fetish, and have fun. I use my iPhone to snag whiteboards, brainstorms and more.
  2. Use whatever digital app works best for you. Bear is an excellent app for catching notes on the go. Especially the voice capture on an Apple Watch. So, if I am driving home and recall something, I tap Bear on my phone and watch it automatically convert to a text note. Apple notes is OK but not great. But occasionally, I’ll sketch or punch a note in there.
  3. Notion is where everything goes and is shared. The point is not the storage in one place – that’s great and sometimes useful at a future date. The point is that through the process, I am creating secondary notes. So, I might capture notes from a team meeting that include a reference to check-in on headcount approvals – they sit in one Notion page for all my Day Notes. But I’ll also flow that action into my 1:1 Notes for the next meeting with our talent team. Equally important, Notion is the only place I share notes – so I have one place to collaborate from.

The underlying philosophy here is time to ingestion – the faster and more quickly you can capture a note, the more you’ll do it and the more productive you’ll be.

The leap in all this is the discipline and habit required. We’re defined by our routines and rituals. So for those struggling to do this, just do everything in Notion and work backwards.

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