taking notes

Did you know that schooling isn’t the only place you should be taking notes? No matter your place of employment (minus a few exceptions) you should be taking notes while at work. Doing so can help your productivity, reliability, help you get a raise and even get a better job for the future! Check out the perks of note taking, below!

Know When to Take Notes

You don’t need to document your ENTIRE day, but you should be taking notes more than you think. Having too many notes and being able to discard them if needed is better than wishing afterward that you took them when you didn’t. Here are a few occasions when you DEFINITELY should be taking notes at work:

One-on-One Meetings

Regardless of the meeting, one-on-ones are a great time to take notes. Not only will it show you are listening, but a statistic from awpnow shared that our brains retain “5% of what is said”. Jotting things down allow you to thoroughly review your notes later without struggling to remember the information.

Tasks Verbally Communicated

If a colleague, manager or boss communicates or requests something from you this is a GREAT time to jot it down. When there is no email trail to refer back to, it’s easy to forget or confuse the information communicated. Writing it down will save both you and your fellow coworker/manager.

To-Do Lists

We’ve recently covered the importance of to-do lists, but this is another great time to jot things down. Putting things on paper allows you to reassess and review later. Not to mention, you can prioritize your tasks in a quick and usable way.

Group Meetings

Group meetings can be extremely distracting and therefore reduce your ability to retain what is being communicated.  Whether you’re collaborating, brainstorming or reviewing; jot notes down during the meeting. You’ll still be able to participate in the conversation and also be able to take action when you’re back at your desk.

Client Calls/ Meetings

When you are in a meeting with a client or on the phone, taking notes is crucial to not only help your memory but also cover your basis. Sometimes information relayed can be forgotten which can cause some obstacles, but if you had clear notes to refer back to you’d be surprised how beneficial it can be.

What to Write About

When you are note taking at work, there are a few different aspects to focus on. The first is chronicling your daily tasks, projects and to-dos. Make sure to be descriptive enough to review them later. Update these notes as you complete them, add dates and even use different colored ink to mark off new notes or check marks when completed.

How to Take Notes

There are various ways to take notes. Not one is better than the other but find one that works for you. Here are a few options for you to try and choose from:


“List” notetaking is one of the most obvious. Start with the most important task at the top and work your way down. Add subtopics and headers when needed. This is more of a bullet form list and allows you to quickly at a glance understand the information written.


This may take the longest, BUT this is one of the most beneficial. Detailed notetaking is super descriptive and allows you to document everything that occurs. Who said what, what was said etc. If you were to give someone else the notes they would be able to follow what happened without even being present.

Keep them Organized

If you write notes that are hard to go back and review, re-write them to make sense to you. You want them to be legible enough to assist you later and therefore they need to make sense to you. If they are a jumbled illegible mess, there really was no point in taking them at all. So keep them organized.

Keep Them Cohesive

Once you develop a technique you like, carry that out through your note-taking. Not only does this keep you organized, but your brain can more quickly scan the information when it recognizes the format. Write the topic, the date, and any other critical information at the top of each page so it’s much easier to flip through and refer back to later.

Keep the Location Consistent

Keep your notes in the same place, every time. Use a notebook that you can easily transport with you (and will by default stay organized). You’ll know where your notes are and you can flip back to them when needed.

Revisit Them Often

Although this step may seem tedious, don’t skip it. Set a time in your calendar each week for as little as 10-15 minutes to review your notes. Write down (in different colored ink) little reminders that you think of, questions you have regarding your notes and anything else that will help you when reviewing. This will enhance your productivity and allow you to stay proactive.

Why taking Notes is Crucial

As we have discussed previously, leaving things to memory is, not the best idea. Especially when you are in a situation where a LOT of information is being relayed. Taking notes allows you to jot down what’s important and gives you something to refer back to if needed! Here are a few reasons why:

You Increase the Quality of Your Work

Note taking is beneficial for the FUTURE you. Whether you are completing a task, jotting down information in a meeting, or working on a project; taking notes helps you improve each one. It’s a history trail of all of the information you have gathered, thoughts or ideas you may have had and put them all on paper which allows you to work most effectively.

You Can Utilize Your Notes in Other Ways

Once you have the information down on paper, you can pretty much do anything with your notes. For example turning your notes into a to-do list is simple and keeps you organized.

Notes Help With Time Management

The best way to stay on track and be efficient with your time is following your notes. Taking notes as new tasks come up or requests arise, allow you to then chronologize the information and be productive. You save a TON of time by doing this because you’re not searching through emails or checking back in with clients or colleagues for reminders on what needed to be done.

Notes Reduce Stress

Lastly, similar to writing a to-do list and getting all of your thoughts on paper, writing notes reduces stress. You clear your thoughts and you can observe the information in a more logical and proactive way without feeling overwhelmed by your tasks.

Do you take notes at work? How have they helped you?