Some of you might already do this as second nature, but if you don’t, a critical habit for your success is to write things down. And we mean actually writing with good old-fashioned pen, not typing on a phone or computer. “WHAT?!” you might be thinking. No, seriously.
Trust us on this one. Just try it. Get yourself a pen (or pencil or cute little rainbow set of fine-tipped markers, or whatever brings you joy) and a simple notebook. For a few weeks, try taking simple notes (a rough outline, key points) in your lectures or meetings.
Try making a lists of things you want to accomplish each day. When you finish them, check them off. (Very satisfying) If you dont accomplish them, move them to the next day’s list.
Taking notes helps you LEARN and REMEMBER MORE. Making lists, setting goals and having plans helps you PRIORITIZE, FOCUS and ACCOMPLISH MORE. We are not making this up. It’s scientifically proven:
“It seems that writing anything down makes us remember it better. On the other hand, not writing things down is just asking to forget.
It’s a kind of mental Catch-22: the only way not to have to write things down is to write them down so you remember them well enough not to have written them down.
– Dustin Wax, Lifehacksource: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/writing-and-remembering-why-we-remember-what-we-write.html
Don’t be Shy.
Just because no one around you in class or a meeting isn’t taking notes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You’ll just be that much farther ahead of them. I amazed by the number of young people who come into my office for a conversation, to a meeting or presentation without a notebook. (In fact, just today I sat in on a high school field trip presentation where the teacher had to actually TELL the students to get out pens and paper to write down detailed information, like the cost per square foot of retail space.)
I’ve also noticed that a lot of people would rather take a laptop to class or a meeting and type their notes up. Some really lazy people just take a photo of the teacher’s assignment or notes on the dry erase board after class. This may be efficient and make for neater notes, but for real, it doesn’t have the same effect:
‘Overall, it seems those who type their notes may potentially be at risk for “mindless processing.” The old fashioned note taking method of pen and paper boosts memory and the ability to understand concepts and facts.’(Source: https://www.medicaldaily.com/why-using-pen-and-paper-not-laptops-boosts-memory-writing-notes-helps-recall-concepts-ability-268770 )
Writing Notes is a Sign of Interest and Respect.
An additional bonus to writing things down is that the person talking (teacher, colleague) sees that you are conscientious, organized and responsible, and that you think what they are saying is important.
They are also not wondering if you are actually checking your email or playing computer games. Do not underestimate the importance of this in your education and career. I have spent many hours preparing for a meeting only to have both colleagues and clients typing away on their computers while I’m presenting.
Being on a screen during a class, meeting or presentation is nothing short of RUDE. I believe strongly in a NO SCREENS RULE: If you are so busy and so important that you can’t leave your screen for one hour, then don’t come to my meeting. If you NEED to be on your phone during a meeting, the polite thing to do is to tell the presenter before the meeting that you are not trying to be rude, you are expecting a very important call/email. Then sit in the back and try to pay as much attention as you possibly can.
Last point: Practice Making Lists
In addition to note taking, if you get in the habit of writing down what you want to accomplish every day (in addition to any appointments on your calendar), you are more likely to prioritize the important things you need to do and not get distracted by less important things.
Keeping lists is a wonderful way to stay organized and productive. We will talk more about this in our blog about keeping a PLANNER and setting GOALS.
Now go grab a pen and notebook.