When was the last time you took notes? Over the past four years I have tried countless (yes, countless) methods of keeping notes. Why keep notes? Reflection. There are so many times where I go “did I try this?” or “damn, I can’t remember what I did that worked so well.” Funny thing is, taking notes is easy and the payoff is huge. The question becomes how and when to take notes.
As I said, I have tried a million methods. Moleskin notebooks, lab notebooks, Evernote, Google Docs, white paper, you name it. I have found it actually depends on the type of notes I am taking. Right now I use two methods: (1) white computer paper and (2) Evernote. The paper method is my go-to for school work (allows me to work out problems in the empty margins) and Evernote is my choice for personal notes.
I have run several projects focused on my body and my career. Anywhere from dropping 20%+ of my body fat in 12 weeks to getting into graduate school and a new job. Each of these “projects” are kept in an Evernote notebook. I record things I did each day or every other
day (seriously takes 5 minutes) and think about what I could do differently tomorrow to improve or make progress. This simple process pays huge dividends when you look back a few months from now and have a history of things you did and progress you made. Just don’t get overwhelmed with taking too many notes (I did this). Keep it simple, keep it concise, and keep it focused on one thing at a time.
I was once told by a former mentor “reflection is the sign of a successful person.” It’s obvious why: successful people adjust course when something doesn’t work. They try again. They try something new, measure, readjust, and continue to kick ass. I encourage all of you to grab a notebook (or a keyboard in my case), think about what you want to achieve, start taking note about your progress towards that goal and make sure you “take note” on what does and doesn’t work :).