Advertising
Advertising

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s your favorite tool for taking notes at important meetings?

1. Evernote

dave-nevogt

    I have Evernote open on my mobile constantly to take notes at meetings. It allows me to travel light without having to bring the computer and syncs along. I announce to the other party that I am taking notes so they still know that I am paying attention and not texting or answering emails.

    Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

    2. Fleksy

    Advertising

    John Hall

      With Fleksy, I don’t have to look at the keyboard while I type. I can keep eye contact with the people in the meeting and take notes at the same time.

      John Hall, Influence & Co.

       

      3. A Moleskine Notebook

      Patrick Vlaskovits

        The Moleskine notebook has the perfect form factor. It slips into my pocket and looks great. It’s unbeatable.

        Patrick Vlaskovits, The Lean Entrepreneur
        4. A Classic Notepad

        Advertising

        Andy Karuza

          I still love the traditional way of jotting down quick notes or even drawing necessary diagrams at the same time to help communicate the message from the meeting. If I want to go digital, I just snap a photo of the notes with my phone and email it to myself.

          Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

          5. Basecamp

          Patrick Conley

            We have people on our team who take amazing notes during our calls, especially when talking to clients. I’ve found that taking notes distracts me and pulls me out of the moment. We record all of our important calls and have team members taking great notes that we store withBasecamp so that we never lose important discussions.

            Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

            6. Evernote Moleskine

            Advertising

            Brennan White

              I find typing during meetings sends the wrong message no matter how polite you are in explaining your intentions. It removes eye contact and shows disinterest. To combat this, I use Evernote Moleskine, a notebook that digitizes your writing into searchable online text. Your colleagues feel you’re engaged, and you have a perfect set of notes.

              Brennan White, Watchtower

              7. iA Writer

              Chuck Reynolds

                During meetings or calls, I constantly rely on iA Writer. It supports markdown to quickly format content and, most importantly, autosaves constantly. I’ve never lost notes even when I don’t save them right away. It’s amazing. Other tools were too volatile, and I’ve lost notes during meetings because of crashes. IA Writer is superior, and I highly recommend it.

                Chuck Reynolds, Levers

                8. A Composition Book

                Advertising

                Saul Garlick

                  It’s from elementary school, but it works just as well. I put a wide-ruled composition book with the classic marble cover into a leather notebook jacket I picked up years ago in Manhattan. The cover keeps it professional while the inside is as strong as ever. I never lose a page and jot down everything that matters.

                  Saul Garlick, ThinkImpact

                  9. Pivotal Tracker

                  jared-brown

                    Any note worth taking should be in the form of an action item. I record action items in a project management tool such as Pivotal Tracker and assign it to someone right there and then. That way tasks and thoughts don’t fall through the cracks after the meeting is over.

                    Jared Brown, Hubstaff

                    More by this author

                    9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                    Trending in Productivity

                    116 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 27 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer 36 Characteristics of Successful People That Make Them Outstanding 4The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) 515 Best Android Productivity Apps (2018 Version)

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

                    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

                    How about a unique spin on things?

                    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

                    1. Empty your mind.

                    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

                    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

                    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

                    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

                    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

                    2. Keep certain days clear.

                    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

                    Advertising

                    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

                    3. Prioritize your work.

                    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

                    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

                    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

                    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                    4. Chop up your time.

                    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

                    5. Have a thinking position.

                    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

                    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

                    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

                    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

                    Advertising

                    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

                    7. Don’t try to do too much.

                    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

                    8. Have a daily action plan.

                    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

                    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

                    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

                    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

                    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

                    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

                    11. Have a place devoted to work.

                    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

                    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

                    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

                    Advertising

                    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

                    12. Find your golden hour.

                    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

                    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

                    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

                    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

                    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

                    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

                    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

                    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

                    14. Never stop.

                    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

                    Advertising

                    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

                    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

                    15. Be in tune with your body.

                    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

                    16. Try different methods.

                    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

                    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

                    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Read Next