Note Methods

    A brief overview of the methods and tools for taking notes, based on personal experience and subjective views on the topic.

    Initially, I had the idea to start this text with a brief summary of the main goals that justify maintaining a variety of notes “for myself”, but in the end I did not do this. Those who lead them themselves know what it is for, because in most cases, they have come to this with their own mind. And for those who do not feel any need for this, and there is no need to explain anything. Probably, these are happy people, free enough from the influence of the world, so as not to have to deal with entities that are not always entirely in the head, and not burdened with the need to carry a suitcase of vital information. Always a little envious of them (no sarcasm), because for me personally, the need to regularly save data on external (with respect to the brain) media has long become everyday.

    Over a fairly long period of time, I tried to find the most convenient and flexible note-taking system that suits my needs. The search was quite versatile: I managed to try a lot of diverse software, starting with the usual notepad-like text editors and ending with a motley online and offline wiki. As a result, I found not one convenient tool for myself, but rather a considerable number of them. Moreover, among them it was not so easy to identify a clear leader. Each tool was good in certain conditions, and at the same time could greatly lose to competitors beyond them.

    The simultaneous use of a large number of recording methods slowly but steadily led to an increase in the level of confusion, so I decided to systematize them in order to differentiate the areas of application of each tool. The result was a memory card, which I quote below. Perhaps in some places it looks a bit messy. This is due to the fact that in addition to simply listing the recording options with their pros and cons, I also set out my own experience using each of them. You should also not lose sight of the subjectivity of the system presented. I did not set myself the goal of compiling a comprehensive universal model, because in my opinion this is a deeply hopeless occupation. On the contrary, the scheme includes only what I considered relevant. Such systems need to be grown based on their context,

    Note Methods and Tools
    (clicking opens a full-size diagram in PDF format)

    Summing up a brief summary, I will list specific tools and areas of their application:
    • Notepad - an ordinary paper notebook of a small (easily transportable) format for recording contact information, and other short notes. In this regard, paper is much more convenient than notebooks of cell phones and PDAs in that it has zero interface latency. With a notebook, you never have to wait until it boots up or performs some other insanely important internal process that is obvious only to developers.
    • Large-format notebook or notebook — used to express and formalize ideas at an early stage of understanding, as the most suitable tool for this. Sometimes it is also used at an early stage of planning, when you need to figure out how best to distribute things throughout the day or week. As a rule I don’t take with me, because This is a rather large item, and it is usually stored in a “stationary” workplace.
    • PDA - I tried the cursed amount of software for PocketPC, but eventually settled on a simple Word file that opens in Pocket Word by clicking on the hardware button. Entries in such a file are added according to the principle of the stack, with the date in front of each of them. It is used as a rule for writing drafts of texts that are later planned to be transferred to a large computer (posts, letters, etc.). With such recordings, it is very important to regularly clean the text file, otherwise it can quickly turn into a garbage can, in the depths of which you can easily get lost that should not be lost.
    • Desktop Tools
      • WikiPad on a usb stick is a desktop wiki with a completely acceptable interface (at least the best in its class). It is used for a wide variety of small entries (except for contacts for which there is Outlook), which in this format can be more or less systematically stored. It is in the wiki that notes from a temporary file are usually transferred to the PDA.
      • Many text files arranged in directories. Before I started using the wiki, it was the most convenient means of storing texts, giving 100 points ahead to tricked out and clumsy note managers. In addition, it is the most platform-independent tool you can imagine.
      • Google Notebook I use it relatively recently, and I seem to like it, although they say with large amounts of data Google Notebook seriously slows down. Oddly enough, Google Docs has not yet taken root.

    I would be glad if someone finds this micro-research useful. I, in turn, would be interested to hear a third-party opinion on the topic raised. If someone wants to make additions to the map or build their own version on the basis of it, I post in open access its source file in the format MindManager 6 : notes.mmap [34 kb].

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