In today’s world, technology is virtually a necessity in every aspect of daily life — including note-taking at work and school. But the more we use computers, the less we’re used to handwriting, and excessive writing can cause hand cramps and smudged notes, especially if we’re writing quickly.
The need for digital note-taking is greater than ever, and there is a multitude of choices to fulfill that need depending on what your personal preferences are. Some people find it easier to remember their notes in the long term if they physically write them versus typing them on a computer, while others cannot take all the notes they want to if they write them down.
Either way, digital note-taking can really help when you need to find something because you can search the digital material. Much easier than flipping through physical notes for what you need!
Here are three tried and true methods for digital note-taking to choose from.
Translating Physical Notes to Digital Notes
The easiest way to create digital notes without changing much of your current method is by typing up your physical notes on your computer through either a word processor or a note app. This method typically doesn’t require any additional software or tools that you don’t already have on your laptop or desktop. There are mobile apps you can use to take notes as well if you prefer having your notes on your phone.
That being said, this can be the most time-intensive method for digital note-taking because you’re essentially doing twice the work. Some people use this method as a way of studying the material.
Additionally, you can take “physical” notes digitally on tablets and certain laptops with touch screens. By using a compatible stylus, you can take handwritten notes directly on your device without having to transfer them over later. On many devices, this type of note-taking is still searchable for future reference and can either stay in handwritten form or change to a typed form, depending on your personal preference.
Buying & Using Reusable Notebooks & Planners
This may sound counterintuitive because notebooks and planners are notoriously single-use, but there’s a new option that’s surfaced in the last few years: digital notebooks and everyday planners. By using material that stands up to light water, these reusable notebooks are more eco-friendly than the other methods and essentially don’t break down. The pages included in these planners can be reused over and over with a simple wipe-down.
You can take handwritten notes if you prefer and then automatically scan and upload them to a word processor, note-taking app, or other cloud-based solution for notes. If you’re looking for a handwritten solution that doesn’t require extra time, this might be the right choice for you.
Using Cloud-Based Software
Online repositories like Google Drive, OneNote, and Evernote are very well known for their capacity and digital word processing and note-taking offerings. Some of these are free — although they have storage limits — while others may require a small monthly fee to maintain access.
One of the benefits of using a cloud-based solution is the ability to open your notes anywhere you have the app installed. If you have a laptop, tablet, and smartphone and want to access your notes on any of those devices, you can; you can view, edit, and create notes as you need no matter where you are. This is a very popular method for those that work in many different environments and situations or need constant access when they’re on the road.
The great thing about the cloud-based method is that it can work with the other methods on this list. Especially for tools like Google Drive or Dropbox, typed notes, pictures of notes, and digitally handwritten notes can all be saved and stored in the cloud.
Start Taking Notes
You can pick and choose which methods you want to use based on your working style and digital limitations. But one thing is clear—digital note-taking is the future of note-taking.