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:
- It’s something that I already know. Obviously, this is not to be noted down.
- 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.
- 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.
- It’s something new and I will forget it if I don’t note it down.
- 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.
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 using Adwords, 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 come up with some plan to use the keyword planner, you just discovered an article that shows you how to use the Sitelinks extensions, and so on.
Speaking of insights, let’s say, you want to take a look at one of the new campaigns to see if it has started gathering any impressions. New adwords users often panic that their bids may not be enough for the new campaign and increase them indiscriminately. Expert users may realize that a new campaign does take its own time and are patient with their initial bids. There are numerous tips like these that you may like to keep in your own knowledge base.
You need a good Adword Tool for taking notes where you save insights like these that you gathered from your own experience and from the experience of others.
Sadly, Adwords does not have any features for notes. Probably the designers of Adwords did not put them in because they realized that once they give the feature of notes, they will need to give many other features that go along with note taking tools and the Adwords interface will become too complicated.
I use my own developed Notes Outliner “WhizFolders” as an Adword Tool for keeping notes on any adwords insights, strategies, plans and experiences.
Originally, I had developed WhizFolders to deal with complexities in learning new programming languages and frameworks. But later, I made it into a full-fledged Notes Organizer as well as an Outliner for writers. As a result, it has benefited a large number of users over the years. The program is being used to make notes to keep all kinds of information by a variety of users.
I keep my Adwords related notes in many notebook files in WhizFolders. Here is a sample file of notes.
Here are a few points to note in the picture:
- In the left pane, I can outline the notes hierarchically. This helps me find what I want quickly.
- You can see that in the top section, I’m analyzing an old campaign. The note that I have selected to view in the right pane is “Converting Keywords.”
- WhizFolders as a Notes tool is particularly useful because I can insert links to open Adwords interface at a particular level of detail. For example, if I double-click on the “Direct link..” note in the list, it will directly open the Adwords in Chrome, showing me the Ads for a particular adgroup in a particular campaign. I inserted this link by simply pasting the address from the browser in the list. I can also insert links in the text of a note on the right.
You can see the following kind of notes in this sample file:
- Research notes on an Old Campaign.
- Notes on a current experiment that I’m making based on the old campaign.
- Developing a new methodology for future campaigns and some tips on finding keywords under it.
- A note on sales that I can recognize from Search console.
- Some notes on ROI and CPC of recent sales.
You can download a trial edition of WhizFolders from whizfolders.com and see if it can help you in the same way. What you can do with WhizFolders is only limited by your imagination.