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Do you love to take notes but strive to do it fast? Here are a few essential tips for taking better (and faster) paper notes for use in both professional and personal contexts. Business Optimizer considers a few essential tips for taking better paper notes.

We know from the work of Mueller and Oppenheimer that taking paper notes is better for learning, memory and comprehension than typing notes onto a computer.

But how can you perfect the way you take those paper notes?  Business Optimizer discovers how a few simple tips can make all the difference.

#1. Choose the paper and pen to suit you

Do you prefer working in a notepad or on loose sheaf paper?  Do you prefer writing with a pen or pencil?  Experiment and decide which writing tools you prefer – then make sure you always have them with you.

#2. Find a notetaking method to suit you

We all perceive and review the information we receive differently, so it makes sense that each one of us has a special way (and sometimes unique) of recording it too.

You can experiment with different formal note taking approaches – such as the Cornell method or the mapping method.  Or, if you are the creative type, why not develop your own method adjusted to your necessities and time?

#3. Leave lots of white space

While it can be tempting to cram words onto the paper, leaving white space around your notes is useful for two reasons.  First, you can go back and add associated points during your meeting or lecture.  Second, it will be a lot easier to review your notes later.

#4. If you really want to take notes fast, learn shorthand

Shorthand was once an obligatory skill for secretaries, civil servants and journalists.  Today, not so much.

However, if you do take paper notes and want to write fast, stenography can be a skill worth learning.  It’s a sure-fire wire to be able to write fast.

#5. Review and rewrite your notes later

As soon as you can, return to your notes and add any extra thoughts or explanations to your original text.  You may even wish to write them up more neatly or need to type them up.  If so, the sooner you do this the better; you’ll find it a lot easier to write up your paper notes when the topic is fresh in your mind.

Still not convinced?  Discover why you should take paper notes in meetings.