Paper may not be obsolete just yet, but modern technology is certainly pushing us in that direction. While plenty of note-takers still swear by the classic pen and paper combo, there are better options available these days. With the right approach, taking notes digitally can offer all of the benefits of handwritten notes, with some extra perks, too.
Countless studies have proven that writing by hand boosts brain activity and memory retention. However, that doesn’t mean that pen and paper are the best or only option! Here’s a look at 5 digital methods you can use to level up your note-taking game.
1. Upgrade to a Digital Notebook
Even if you’re a pen purist, there’s a good chance today’s digital notebooks will impress you in a major way. Using a reusable planner or notebook will save a whole lot of trees, but that’s not the only reason to make the switch. They provide an authentic writing experience, and you can even upload your notes to your preferred cloud storage service for easy access and collaboration.
The great thing about this approach is that you don’t have to deviate from your usual approach to note-taking. It’s a seamless transition. Pulling up old notes is a breeze thanks to cloud storage — if you take a lot of notes, you know what a pain referencing them can be! Stay organized while doing your part to save the planet.
2. Use Your Smartphone
Technology makes our lives easier, and few would argue that smartphones are leading the charge. That little computer you carry in your pocket can be an incredibly handy note-taking tool. Not only can you use it to store your digital notes in the cloud, but you can also use it to record audio and video and take pictures of visual teaching aids for later reference.
This is a great approach for those who still prefer to type notes on a laptop or tablet. You can take a hybrid approach. Take your notes in real-time with your preferred method, and then when you get home, use your recording to take the second set of notes by hand — enjoy the best of both worlds. You might be amazed by how much new information you pick up the second time around when you’re writing instead of typing.
3. Incorporate Color and Illustrations
A wall of text can be intimidating. When it’s time to study your notes, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by a waterfall of information flooding your brain all at once. Make your notes easier to digest by embracing your artistic side. Notes don’t have to be boring. Today’s digital notebooks and drawing tablets allow you to use multiple colors with the touch of a button, so go ahead and make those notes pop!
4. Try AI
Taking notes (and expanding upon them later) can be a tedious and time-consuming process, so you might want to outsource some of the work to an artificial intelligence app. AI is becoming quite sophisticated, and there are quite a few user-friendly note-taking tools available.
For example, there are apps that can transcribe words to text in real time. While you’ll probably want to revise those notes later, that text can be a very helpful reference point. You could also feed text into an AI app to find more relevant information to add to your notes. While AI isn’t likely to replace human note-taking altogether anytime soon, it can be a valuable tool to have in your kit.
5. Collaborate on the Cloud
Two brains are better than one (and the same can be said about notes). Cloud storage services make sharing your notes with others so simple — the days of shoddy, indecipherable photocopies are over! A little teamwork can benefit everyone, so consider reaching out to classmates, co-workers, or whoever’s in the room to collaborate. If everyone makes their notes accessible, you’ll be able to benefit from a variety of note-taking methods and learning styles.
Embrace the Future
Taking digital notes is easier than ever, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not the most tech-savvy note-taker on the block. Start with a digital notebook, and then incorporate the other strategies as you go. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can certainly improve upon it!