005: Take Imperfect Notes
Welcome to Toolbox Tips, Effective’s weekly newsletter aimed at putting more tools in your productivity toolbox.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking your notes have to be perfect, isn't it?
No spelling errors.
Perfectly transcribed lectures or videos.
Every point detailed in meaningful, rewritten glory.
In fact, I used to take notes this way. Back in college, I would try to take notes on each lecture thoroughly to ensure I didn’t miss any critical information for the test. Because, let’s face it, that’s only what mattered to in-the-moment college me.
But as I got older and away from the carefully curated environment that is schooling, I realized this approach wouldn’t scale for two reasons:
- There’s so much information out there that you can’t take great notes on all of it.
- Not all information is worth the effort of writing down.
#1 is simply the reality of the day in which we live — too much great information and not enough time to process it all. #2, on the other hand, is about cutting out the noise because there’s a lot of it in the world.
So instead of taking an absurd amount of perfect notes on content I consume, I write a few imperfect ones. Just because something is said doesn’t mean it’s worth writing down; instead, my litmus test is, “Does this capture my attention?”
If it does, I write. If not, I move on.
ACT: Next time you want to take notes on something, focus on only capturing the information you find yourself drawn to.
Hello to our new members: Marthenn, Alex, Daniel, Andrew, and Rene. It’s a pleasure to have you here.
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For Your Enjoyment
The New York Times recently published an article on what I call surveillance-based remote work. I have a few hot takes on it I’d like to share, plus a look at a couple more articles in the queue this week. Join us LIVE at 1pm CDT on Thursday.
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