Techpeople, do you ever take notes?

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Hello, users!

All my life when learning something new I've been taking notes (doesn't matter if paper or pc), specially when learning new technologies I use to write my own guides for myself to know exactly what steps I take and why.

I'm even concerned when I'm mentoring someone new and they don't take any notes or write anything, they just copy or do.

I've been told many times by different people that "they don't take notes", but I think noone can just learn by hearing/seeing, even by just doing. I think no matter at what point, you MUST take notes or write your own outline or w/e.

(This also applies for programming comments, of course).

What do you think?

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I do always take notes in both professional and personal life.
I do that for different reasons: to learn, not to forget, to structure thoughts, etc.
I heard, that writing helps to learn. Here is an interesting research on "Better learning through handwriting".


Really interesting Alexandra, thank you so much sharing both your opinion and the research! I also take a lot of notes... I don't think I would be able to organize my life without it.


I currently keep 5 notebooks with me at work and home. Each one is about a different topic or at least that's the intent. One is my health notebook, business notebook, dev notes etc. I have an index page in each so if I need to I can put down what's on each page for quicker reference. So yes, I take notes and write stuff down alllllll the time.


Everyone is wired differently.

I personally never take notes. If I try to write or type notes in a meeting or while someone is talking I miss what is being said while I write/type. If I am engaged in what is being said, I remember it. Most people where I work come to me to refresh their memories on what was discussed or planned in meetings. I'm just wired to listen and remember.

I know some people that need to write notes down to put the info in their own voice, but then never need to refer back to those notes because the act of writing it solidified it in their brains.

Other people need to write everything down and refer back to it constantly.

Whatever works for you is what you need to do.


I think no matter at what point, you MUST take notes or write your own outline or w/e.

I know what you mean. Whenever there's someone in a meeting without a notepad (or laptop), my subconscious brain wonders: "Who are they trying to impress?" Then I look down at my own notes ... and realise that it's just doodles. But, hey, doodles are important.

I find note-taking is great for capturing ideas. Until I started jotting things down, I didn't realise how many ideas -- good, bad, and ugly -- I was having. I strongly suspect that's true for everyone. Ideas are like fish, swimming downstream; note-taking is like the fishing rod.

I'm a huge fan of pen and paper. There's an immediate connection and a freedom there that I haven't yet been able to recreate on a computer. I use my notepad every day -- I couldn't work without one.


Thank you for your response, Murray.

I think your metaphor is exactly how I see the concept of 'taking notes'. Otherwise, my ideas/concepts would disappear the next second or minute. Even just a little sketch could really help me not to forget that I was inspired in that moment.

I think most people really don't know how to take real notes, important for them, and maybe that's why they don't do it or find it useless.

After 3 years of programming I still check my own noobie-guides, we can't remember everything, we must leave some space in our heads for our daily-life important things: family, friends, birthdays, gifts, our own interests...


If I'm being honest, I'm probably no good at real note taking myself. Even those ideas I do capture ... most of them go nowhere. Perhaps some kind of review stage is just as crucial for long-term notes. Or a Zettelkasten, as Thomas De Moore talks about here.

So true, we can't know it all. We'd go mad trying.


When I was a dev working in a single context I didn't take notes. I was deep in my topic and notes just disrupted my flow. As I gained more responsibilities and went into leadership I found I needed a way to keep the multiple contexts right at my fingertips. I often share my notes after meetings as well. It has the added benefit of reminding all who attended what we agreed on.


Hey Desiré, I take notes on my phone a lot but I try not to do it in-front of someone as they are talking. If it's something I'm learning on-line, I might copy and paste some stuff into a text file, but I think I'm doing that less. I guess I can always go back and Google it again.


Hello, Katie! Thank you so much for your response.

As I'm curious, why wouldn't you take notes as someone is talking?

Also, don't you think that if you're doing the same job everyday (not saying is your case), where you need to for example configure many techs, it is better to write down some notes and not wasting time searching through examples in Google for hours?


If I'm talking with someone, I think it's rude to stare into your phone while they are trying to tell you something.

If I have to do any repetitive tasks, I'll sometimes write a script which kind of act as my notes. The problem is finding that script later when I need to run it again. Yes, I can get very disorganized!


I always bring some form of paper and pen to scribble on to meetings, and frequently just scribble my thoughts when a concept is too large for my small brain to comprehend :)
Also I use some form of folder(physical) to store said scribbles when they turn out to be useful for future reference.
So personally I strongly side with being a doer - it doesnt matter what you're doing, there will be concepts that are difficult to grasp with a single line of thought whatever the task may be. And missing out with writing it down will end up with misconnected dots and forgotton concepts along the way.


I honestly don't take many notes and I rarely go back to read them. I am more of a DO person I guess. Everyone has their own learning style, and so far the copy/do approach you mentioned has been working for me.


Yes, I do take notes especially when learning new things be it a technology or some upcoming project. I generally note down keywords or short sentences which I refer back when I want to refresh bits about what I learned. I ask questions to myself from those keywords and see if I can explain that functionality or technology. This works for me!


i am agree with you, when i take a note and write down, the writing process will give me good information that i can get. knowing the information word by word actually this is will give you insight about what you read and what you write. btw i feel better write with paper instead with gadget.


I always take notes when learning something new. I usually start with pen and paper, and if they're really important, I'll rewrite them digitally.

Sometimes these notes remain private, other times I'll create blog posts from them to share the knowledge.

I've lost count of how many notebooks I've filled up with notes over the years.


I'm typically a person who doesn't really take notes. Simply because the vast majority of times I can just go and look the concept up on the fly which in most cases has a much better explanation than I came up with anyways. Revising for exams is a different thing entirely as I would regurgitate the whole textbook while understanding concepts along the way.


I always take notes. Especially while learning something new. Although I rarely actually go read them afterwards, they help me process and retain the information.


I take notes all the time. I usually have a tab open in my editor so I can keep track of sites, tips, & pretty much anything else I need to remember.

Now this would be really helpful if I actually referred to my notes rather than just googling every time I have a question....


yep always. Despite having a decent memory, I always need to refer to my notes some time in the future.


Always. More thorough thoughts and lists in my notebook and quick sketches and brainstorms on a piece of paper. Really helps me to structure my thoughts :)


Rarely... Though I do find the act of doodling helps to cement what I hear (probably because it overrides the other mental distractions that pop-up if I don't have something to concentrate on).


I definitely take lots of notes. But a lot of times most of the notes I take - I never look at. Depends on the subject

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