📝 How I take notes: The pros & cons of analogue vs. digital

With all the learning that I do it would be impossible to keep track of it all without some form of note taking.

For example right now I’m taking a course on orchestration,  another music production course (even after selling millions of dollars of CDs I’m still learning),  Italian language  (because as a language teachers we always have to be learning new languages ourselves, otherwise we forget what it’s like for the students!)  and of course I’m always doing self development & business/marketing courses.

For taking notes there seems to be a lot of emotion about whether to use digital or analogue systems,  especially it seems from teachers 🙂

In the vast majority of cases digital wins out, for sheer size of storage (do you want to carry around 10 years of books with you every day?), searching (on which page is that note on orchestral compression?), speed (most millennials type way faster than they can speak or write), photos (snapping a photo of a slide in a presentation rather than copying it all out by hand) and security (ah, I left the book on the train!  And oops, one glass of water and that page is all smudged now!)

However in some cases analogue can also win out:

* Flipping through pages can give inspiration with ideas you had forgotten about

* Sorting things chronologically lets you easily see what you were doing on a certain date + you get to see your progress.

* Sketchnoting can make things a lot more fun than basic text if you only have a phone with you.

* Security – when will Apple let us back up Apple notes??  ( But also see above for spilling water on written books!)


This year with Corona I’m probably in one place for most of the year so I bought a physical book to try this year.    With any paper book there isn’t anywhere near enough space on each day’s page.  So I’ve developed a sort of hybrid approach:

1.  I take daily notes in Apple Notes.

2. I then go back through these every week and sketchnote the important points into the physical book.


So hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll get the best of both worlds:

* I get the long term record of everything in Apple Notes.

* I can easily search for keywords.

* I can copy and paste from notes into other notes.

* I get the security of having the notes in the cloud if I loose the book or it gets wet ( p.s.  writing in pencil also helps with this,  although it doesn’t look as good!)

Plus from the analogue side I get:

* Another back up in case Apple decides to update and delete everything

* I have the advantage of being able to flip through the physical book when I’m looking for inspiration.

And I also end up with a cool document of this year that will hopefully look like Henry Jones Snr’s Grail Diary 🙂

Plus I’m writing it up here as a blog, which is of course one other great way to do note taking!

Does any of that help you with your note taking?


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

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