Note To Self: Pen & Paper or App?

Note To Self: Pen & Paper or App?

Julienne Lin
Oct 16, 2012

Back in college I used to carry your average Five-Star notebook, taking notes by hand in all my classes. Well, at least until I got a laptop. After that, the old notebook was relegated to my dorm desk because it was just so much easier to type notes during lectures than hand write them. Now that I'm working and meeting or having lunches with clients, a laptop isn't always the most convenient option (I don't have an ultra thin one). Now I find myself alternating between a small notebook, my phone and my iPad when I'm on the go.

Taking Notes By Mobile
I've found myself caught in a situation during a meeting with someone or at a conference where I have nothing but my phone. It's fine to whip out your phone and take notes during a conference since most people in the audience are tweeting away. During a small group meeting however, the dynamic is different and even if you explain that you're "taking notes" it just looks like you're texting or fiddling with your phone during the meeting.

For me, using a phone to take notes is only done during desperate times when I need to jot down important information and don't have anything else to use.

Taking Notes by Tablet
I almost never take notes with my iPad. Because I don't have a keyboard attachment, I've used my iPad to take notes when that or my phone were the only options. Contrarty to how using a phone to take notes might look rude or like you're texting, taking notes with a tablet is more visually acceptable but not the easiest thing when you don't have a keyboard.

A couple of my favorite note-taking apps for both the iPhone and iPad however, are Evernote and Notability for a wider range of functionality. Both apps support text, images and audio recordings. Evernote now also has an easy journal app that captures your daily journal entries into Evernote. You type an entry, add your GPS location and upload it. Evernote curates all journal entries of the day into one note.

Taking Notes by Laptop
When I'm attending internal meetings, usually I reply on my laptop, especially if I know there will be a lot of information to retain. However, one downside of the laptop is that I become easily distracted. You have such easy access to email, the internet and chat services that once a meeting starts to slow down, you find yourself distracted by other things.

Taking Notes by Paper Notebook
I find that in a working environment, my best bet is actually going back to the trusty print notebook. A medium sized spiral notebook that fits in my bag is handy at lunch meetings and conferences. I even prefer it during in-office meetings because there's nothing to distract me and it's also nice to give my eyes a break from the computer screen.

What's your favorite note-taking device?

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