“When making notes on a new subject, you must avoid taking notes on what you already know”

This Note Taking skill might sound simple but it needs practice. Whether you are attending a lecture or studying a text book, the tendency to note down everything means that you have not learned to give relative importance to stuff. As a result, you are so busy writing that you miss the opportunity to pause and ponder over what you have learnt. It often happens in a lecture. In case of text book, you end up making a copy of the text book in your notes that makes them worthless.

Being a Software developer, I ended up reading lots of product manuals and software programming books. At first, I used to make notes on anything I read. They were still useful because I wrote them in my own words rather than copying the style of the author. But they were not concise. It’s only after reading scores of books that I realized the power of filtering out what I don’t want.

Here’s the important skill that I have learned over the years. Whenever I read something new from a text book, it falls into the following 5 categories:

  1. It’s something that I already know. Obviously, this is not to be noted down.
  2. It’s something that I know but is being presented in another way. The tendency is to note this down. This should be avoided. Spend some time pondering instead to reinforce what you already know.
  3. It’s something new that I’m learning for the first time but I’m not likely to forget this because it’s too simple and derives from my existing knowledge. Again, this is something not to be noted down but worth pondering then and there.
  4. It’s something new and I will forget it if I don’t note it down.
  5. It’s something new but I don’t think it’s relevant to the subject I’m studying. The author or the lecturer seems to be digressing.


Get Free Trial Download of our Program WhizFolders Notes Outliner

Organize and Outline all notes and ideas

Organize and Outline all kinds of notes, ideas, links and lists in WhizFolder notebook files.

You see my point? The only thing worth noting is described in Point 4 above. It can easily be seen how concise your notes will become if you were to develop this skill to identify and note down only what matters.

There is another aspect to making effective and useful notes

Putting them in a sequence that is different from the author. But this is a subject of another post that I will write later.

If you are just using a Sticky Notes program or a Mind Map program to manage your notes, think twice. There is no way to classify or categorize notes in them.

Sticky Notes programs require you to visually organize notes. But the visual desktop space is limited.

It’s same as if you have a bunch of notes and you spread them out on your table top to organize them. Does that work? Not really. What you don’t do in real world also doesn’t work well in the computer. In the physical world, you use Folders to organize your notes. Likewise, in a computer, you should use programs that allow you to use a list, or better still, a hierarchical list to organize your notes.

Abstract thoughts and ideas can not be organized visually. Pictures can’t represent them but only words can. They are best managed in a “hierarchical list.”

Use a category of programs called “Outliners” to organize your notes, thoughts and ideas and you will see your productivity soar.

See why a List is a better device to organize your notes because it gives you a quick overview of all your notes even if there are hundreds of them. Get our Program WhizFolders from WhizFolders.com.

Organize your notes easily in a hierarchical list

Get a 2018 Textual Calendar for use with WhizFolders

December 11, 2017

To use this Calendar File, you need to download and use WhizFolders Notes Software from WhizFolders.com. You can use this calendar file as a daily notes diary or as a journal with easy links to jump to any other day, week or month easily to review your diary. If you are already using an older [...]

Read full article…

Adword Tools today are missing an important feature

December 2, 2017

If you are using Adwords with or without third-party Adword Tools, you should have realized by now that there are too many things going at one time. You have started a new campaign and are anxious to see some impressions, you want to compare the performance of 2 ads that you recently made, you have [...]

Read full article…

Quickly show the original desktop in Windows

January 16, 2017

I use this ShowDesktop feature all the time in Windows 7. Thankfully, it’s still there in Windows 10. Do you know that there is a neat feature called “Show Desktop” in Windows? I use it all the time to quickly access an icon on the desktop even if my screen is choke-full of running applications. [...]

Read full article…

Trying an Adword tool? Take these precautions.

January 7, 2017

If you are signing up for a new Adword Tool that is not from Google, you should take certain precautions. Adwords Account Access Typically, such tools are web applications that will ask your permission to access your adwords account even during a Trial. Before you grant permission, you should know how to revoke that permission [...]

Read full article…

“Open file location,” a nice feature in Windows

November 23, 2016

I will show you all the instances where the feature “Open file location” is useful in Windows. This feature allows you to open the parent or containing folder of any file quickly to look at all other files in that folder. SPONSOR: Visit our Sponsor by clicking on the following ad. Let’s see two examples [...]

Read full article…

Free Program CatchChar–make a custom menu to insert favorite Unicode characters in Windows

Insert unicode characters with customized popup menu June 19, 2016

Get a custom menu that consists of only the characters that you use often and add to it. This is different than using Charmap or Keyboard programs that show you the whole character set. Custom menu saves time. See the sample menu on the right that is installed with the program. You need to click on “Edit Menu” to replace with your own favorite characters.

Read full article…

Free Program Sticky7List–view Windows Sticky Notes in a convenient, zoomable two-pane list

Save Windows 7 Sticky Notes in a list for easy viewing September 19, 2014

Get Sticky7List, a free add on for Windows Sticky Notes. It gives you a nice, zoomable two-pane view of the Windows Sticky Notes. Moreover, you can save an archive of the notes, zoom to see a note better, perform search on the list or start a search on live sticky notes, all from within the same program.

Read full article…

A Free Viewer for Note files made with WhizFolders

February 11, 2013

WhizFolder Viewer is a viewer or reader that allows you to view WhizFolder notes without installing WhizFolders Notes Organizer from whizfolders.com. A sample note file is included.

Read full article…