Take notes is harder than it looks, the problem is not in the action of taking notes itself, but in making actual useful notes, that once back to them you understand whatever was the thing in need to be remembered later.

For developers that is even more noticeable when one frequents lots of conferences.

Ask yourself how many times you got back to that pile of paper or infinite digital notes you took during the event? Now how much did you remember? And how much you actually understood?

Now make that question as a: student, professor, business man, economist, mother/father, you name it. Regardless of the context taking good notes that mean something and keeps the knowledge is quite hard.

A tool to make your notes better: Sketchnote

No, this is not new and may seem obvious to ones and terrifying to others.

There is nothing to fear in make use of this technique to make notes, also it can be simpler than those beautiful ones you see around the web.

Instead of aiming at this

Sketchnote From creativemarket.com

from creativemarket.com

or this

Colorful Sketchnote from creativemarket.com

from creativemarket.com

When you start, think on something more like this one

My sketchnote for growth engine webinar

yeah this actually mine, ‘sight’

Protip: use strong color pens or even better those sharpie pens. It will look way better.

Practice is the way to get into the desired results, start small and simple with some text and doodles, watch some videos and look into others sketchnotes. Eventually you will get good enough for yourself, there is no need to become an artist the point is to create notes with meaning.

Protip: When you take notes during sketching you will lose some minutes of attention on the speaker, so try to stop only for the points that feels that are important.

Protip: Don’t want to lose anything? Optionally record the presentation or stop the video/lecture in order to pay attention to the whole information and then make proper notes.

But wait…. how is that supposed to help?

When drawing you will make connections between facts using arrows, lines, numbers, symbols or whatever you think is the best to relate subjects. When sketchnoting you’re basically drawing how you think of something, how your ideas are organized, just happens that is on paper.

That will make at least two things to happen:

  1. Better remembering a given subject
  2. Developing improved idea organization

That process is similar to what a mind map is, I never got one mind map right before, but is getting better since I started to make skecthnotes, two for the price of one.

And the best part is that you can use that type of note organization for almost anything, if not for everything, conventions, code architecture, plannings, retrospective analysis, product brain storming, books, lightning talks, so on so forth.

Remember, the main goal is not the drawing but the knowledge you can convey through your own notes. You don’t need to be an artist, you don’t need to become one, just make something that is good enough for yourself.

Give me something to start with

There is a huge amount on how to, tips, tricks and more on sketchnoting. You may start here:

How to sketchnote without drawing.

Sketchnoting concepts, nice samples to get ideas from.

And here is a link containing lots of content, some good, some not that good.

Leave your comments and if you feel like it send me an email, I’ll be happy to chat with you.

Happy sketchnoting!