Start Note-Taking As A Habit (Part 1 Of 2)

Note-taking is like two sides of the same coin to people. People still take notes today but who knows. Maybe everyone will have their own “implemented camera eye” to capture anything important in the future. All they have to do is blink. Taking notes will be like how ancient it is for people to draw maps today. Without technology, nothing can be done these days. So, why do people still handwrite their notes with paper and pen? There’s the convenience of typing everything out. Well, nothing can come of nothing. Here, we will delve into the mystery of note-taking. Why it’s so important, and go through the different modes of note-taking.

Note-taking - A girl taking notes in her notebook in front of her computer.
Note-taking is such a common task in daily life that it’s impossible to avoid entirely.
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Note-Taking Is Still Relevant

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t have attention span long enough to listen, categorise, organise, and retain the information we receive all at once. We’re humans, not computers. We have the internet to thank for that. So, our attention span gap gets narrower. Thus, the solution to note-take becomes a common method to record information in a professional and quick manner. Humans tend to forget 70% of new information within 24 hours. Note-taking ensures that we can leave with 100% information recorded and retained.

Note-taking - A woman taking notes whilst she listens during an online meeting.
The prevalence of technology has yet to rid of handwritten note-taking as many people cherish their beneficial purpose.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

People Who Practise Note-Taking Are Successful People

Note-taking is misconceived as a common practice only in education. Beyond school, many think note-taking is no longer necessary. But interestingly, many successful people we know today have made note-taking their most important habit. Encouraging others to do the same. Diehard note-takers include Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) and Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group). Also George Lucas, the director of the Star Wars franchise. They keep a notebook and pen with them at all times. As not to lose any idea and important information that pop up spontaneously.

Note-taking - Four women laughing whilst having a meeting and taking notes in their notebooks.
Note-taking in your notebook is like having a recorded conversation with yourself. Make it a habit so you can get the most out of yourself.
Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

“I go through dozens of notebooks every year and write down everything that occurs to me each day, an idea not written down is an idea lost. When inspiration calls, you’ve got to capture it.” 

– Richard branson (Founder of virgin group)

Why Note-Taking, Why Now?

Typing is fast, I can’t deny that. So why now when there are different modes for writing that are more efficient and organised? Typing or recording important information and ideas takes away the part where we process information when we write. It’s all psychological, but I’m guessing our hands like to physically tell our minds what we need to remember. Sort of like engraving it into our brains.

A Post-it note that writes "Disconnect to connect", next to a bunch of calligraphy pens.
Sometimes not everything is found online. Note-taking will give you the experience to connect with yourself.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Writing down our ideas and thoughts becomes more meaningful as we take the time to write them down. Ideas flow better as well, as we build upon that idea or thought. The flexibility of writing is much more convenient than typing everything out. Then again, if we only wanted to write something short, it’s not worth the time and effort to bring around your laptop or opening a new note on your phone. Scribbling down something quick and subtle is the perfect role of notebooks.

“I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory.”

Tim ferriss (entrepreneur and author)

A Notebook For You

There are different types of notebooks for different purposes and intentions. Journalling in notebooks has become quite the trend online. Many tutorials are available that teach you how to take notes, write journals and make your own notebooks. These days it’s all about how pretty your notes look. The trendy aesthetic takes away the ease of note-taking. And the potential it can bring to the writer if done on a daily basis. Nonetheless, if you’re a student, note-taking is something you can’t avoid. Here are three types of notebooks that people have been using coupled with some differences in technological ability.

Different types of notebooks arranged on top of each other for note-taking.
Different cultures have different aesthetics to their notebooks. Japanese notebooks for example are longer and narrower. Western notebooks are bulky and compact.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

1) The Traditional Pen And Paper

No matter how long it has been, good practices never die. Thomas Edison (American inventor) also had a note-taking habit where he believed that out of quantity comes quality. In order to discover a great idea, one must generate many different ideas first. Pen and paper is the original method of note-taking. Therefore the possibility of uses is immense. It can be used for taking lecture notes in classrooms, meetings at work, or as a diary for personal use.

A journal full of drawings and writing next to a black calligraphy pen.
Note-taking in notebooks has made people very creative in the way they present their notes. People actually take the time to clean up their notes voluntarily for themselves.
Photo by Stickerrific

Some people might even prefer to keep their notebooks as memorabilia. In a more casual manner, instead of notebooks, pieces of paper or sticky notes are used to record down ideas. Especially the spontaneous ones. Let’s not forget the satisfying feeling when crossing out something. For example, when finishing a task on your to-do list. This feeling can only be felt through basic pen and paper note-taking. Who would’ve thought during Thomas Edison’s time that note-taking would become a stress-relieving activity?

2) Tablet: The Bridge Between Our Past And Future

It seems like the stationery market is booming at every corner you turn. And every click away online. It’s that prevalent. Taking notes has become more of an aesthetic full of matching colours, smooth calligraphy, and tiny neat handwriting. Some people have taken it to the next level and digitised their note-taking but still keeping the handwriting intact with tablets. Tablet computers have been designed for people to write on them. For instance, the iPads are great for people who are on the go. Don’t want the clutter of paper, and are technology dependent. These are great for people like Gen Z who need to see data right away or connect to the internet when they take their notes. As they are visual learners and need instant access to everything, it makes sense that 63% of the Gen Z population owns a tablet.

Four people having a meeting showing each other notes and taking notes.
In this image, we can see the mix of generational note-taking media. We’ve got the traditional notebook, a tablet, and a laptop.
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Tablets and paper-based notebooks do still share the advantage of better information processing through physical writing. Tablets function as computerised paper and pen. Not many people, however, would invest in a tablet for the sake of taking notes. You’ll find that tablets are a very nice alternative to normal notebooks. They’re environmentally friendly as they don’t use paper. You can have more design options on a tablet than buying different types of stationery yourselves. One big advantage that tablets give without losing the essence of handwritten notes is the ability to edit and move text or images like how a computer does.

A woman swiping through her laptop whilst drawing on her iPad.
The advanced technology tablets today allow normal people to become creators of their own note-taking collection.
Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

3) Ever Heard Of Smart Notebooks?

a) Rocketbook Smart Notebook

This notebook is for people who don’t see a point in buying a tablet for note-taking. It’s definitely more economical. Smart notebooks look just like normal notebooks with the added function of digitising your handwritten notes. Rocketbook is the most popular smart notebook in the market today. It’s affordable and simple. It has a spiral bound with polyester paper that feels like paper. And must be used with the Pilot FriXion erasable gel pens. Once you have written your notes, you can scan the QR code with the Rocketbook app. Then send it to anywhere you want in the cloud. You can then erase your notes with a wet towel and microwave the notebook to clear the ink. And it’s all set for next use.

Two Rocketbook notebooks and a pen laying beside each other.
Rocketbook creators wish it could last a lifetime. But new technology emerges every year and I’m curious to see how Rocketbook will improve.
Photo by Giang Cao from Pexels

b) Moleskine Smart Writing System

If you’re looking for something more unique and hassle-free, the Moleskine smart writing set could be the notebook for you. It’s a lot more pricey but you get the special pen that writes for you. This is for people who want that paper and pen contact. But don’t want to miss out on the organisation and creative edits that digitised notes provide. Its notebook design mimics the look of a tablet where the paper outside curves outwards. The paper isn’t reusable but the star is their pen. Your notes will be digitised in real time. Thanks to the camera inside the pen that detects the notes and sends them back to the app. You can show other people what you’re writing at the moment if paired to smart TV. It saves time from having to save your notes in the cloud.

Make Note-Taking One Of Your Habits

Nothing bad can come out of having a note-taking habit. To prevent our attention span from getting shorter, let’s start or maintain the practice of note-taking in all that we do. Shockingly, 75% of Americans have not written a note to someone in a month. And 15% going as long as over five years. Eradicating note-taking altogether can increase our dependency on technological aids. And we will truly become slaves to them. Studies have found that 87% of American millennials appreciate handwritten notes more. Preferring them as their chosen form of communication. But of course, implementing technology without hindering the essence of note-taking won’t be a problem. We can still adopt good old habits whilst living in modern times.

“Now that handwriting and physical forms of communication are more of a novelty, millennials are excited about them and about sending handwritten notes in general.”

Julie Noyce, General Manager of Bond (Handwritten note service)
Note-taking - A little girl and boy dressed up as adults. They're taking notes together on a table filled with gadgets.
Now when it seems handwritten note-taking could cease from existence in the future, people are starting to appreciate it.
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Let’s Get You A Notebook

Sometimes in your life, you may need to take notes for many different reasons. If not, you have to try it once in your life. When that time comes, finding a perfect notebook is a fun way to personalise and encourage a tedious action into a desirable one. The notebook market is big. You can get a notebook almost anywhere. So, it’s important to find a place that knows about the technicalities and quality of brands so you can get inspired as well. A brand like Stickerrific is a great example. Their creative team is well-versed in art supplies.

A landscape view of the Stickerrific store inside. Wooden shelves line the walls and art supplies fill the drawers.
The Stickerrific store screams art and is a safe place for anyone interested in arts and cats. Their store reminds me of an art studio and I believe it makes the experience more authentic to visitors.
Photo by Stickerrific
A cat with a ribbon sitting next to a shelf of different paint brushes.
I guess art and cat have to go together. They both have a calming effect and are fun to play with. If you visit their store, I’m sure you’ll find a cat mascot serving you at the counter.
Photo by Stickerrific

Stickerrific is a Malaysian stationery shop located in Petaling Jaya, Selangor selling international and local brands. It’s the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to art and stationery lovers. They are very active online as well. They have their own website where you can purchase their items. As well as a blog full of helpful tips. I especially like their Instagram page filled with beautiful paintings pleasing to the eye. Can’t forget their adorable cats. Not only do they just sell art supplies, but they regularly conduct workshops for different types of art.

Five people with masks outside painting and talking to each other.
Stickerrific does not let COVID-19 stop their love to teach art to the community. This image was taken during a workshop they conducted outdoor, where they enjoyed painting together.
Photo by Stickerrific

Keep Up To Find Your Own Note-Taking Style!

Stickerrific does not only sell art supplies, they sell inspiration and creativity. They have a variety of different styles of note-taking medium for you to find what works for you. Look through to see what catches your eye. And begin your note-taking journey. In the next part of this series, I’ll go deeper into the different styles of note-taking people enjoy. Going through their pros and cons. Come back for the next episode to discover your own style of note-taking befitting your needs and preferences.

A journal full of colourful notes on improvement ideas and weekly goals with markers on the side.
Now it’s your turn to start note-taking! Go!
Photo by Stickerrific

About Dina GHAZALI

Raised abroad almost her entire life, Dina is well exposed to the multi-cultural world around her. Penned her innermost thoughts on paper as a child, and eventually fell in love with writing. Aims to be a successful writer one day.

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