Sam Radford

August 31, 2021

Note taking or making notes?

Note taking is what happens when we’re quickly capturing content to refer back to it later while we’re listening. Note making on the other hand is when we generate ideas, like when reading. This is when we form our own ideas and insights based on the information we encounter. It’s the process of connecting the dots, or plotting new ones.

This quote is from the latest Bullet Journal newsletter

It served to remind me that I’m better at taking notes than making notes. 

Honestly, this is in no small part laziness. Taking notes doesn’t require much thought and therefore takes less time. 

But it is the making of notes that leads to deeper understanding, fuller embedding of what I’m exploring, and a richer treasure chest to call upon later. 

I’ve made a step forward with my reading this last year in that I’ve started to take notes. This is more than I’ve done previously, and it’s undeniably helping me retain more of what I’m reading and learning. 

Reading about this difference between note taking and making notes provided a helpful nudge to not stop there though.

Lazy, in-the-moment me might not feel like he’s bothered. But future me will be grateful for the repository of thoughts and ideas he can readily call upon.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |