How I take notes

How I take notes?

A time ago, I commented a discussion on titled How do you make notes? Here it is long my reply.

Plain text and Markdown

I love plain text. It’s future-proof. You can use any text editor. Notepad++, SublimeText, Vim, Visual Studio Code, you name it. I use plain text for almost everything.

I write all my notes using Markdown. It’s formatted plain text that can be converted to HTML. Markdown is already on README files in GitHub and almost everywhere around the Internet.

To write and organize my notes I use Notable.

A pencil and a notebook
Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

todo.txt and Zettelkasten

For my task list, I have a todo.txt file. One task per line. Each task has a priority, due date and optional tags. For ideas and tasks in the future, I have a later.txt. Once a task is done, I move it to a done.txt. I keep it as a brag document. For more ideas to use plain text, you can read Lifehacker Ten clever uses for plain text.

I have a note for every blog post, podcast, video and book I found interesting. I group these notes using the tag: “til”, short for “Today I learned”. I write the date, the source, the keypoints and my reaction.

I capture ideas and thoughts on my phone. “Always have something to keep notes” suggests Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.

Recently I found a note-taking system: Zettelkasten. In short, write on your own words what you learn on a piece of paper or card, put an index number and connect it to your existing notes. Althought there are editors for Zettelkasten, I have my own slip-box and I keep my cards with pen and paper.

To read more about the Zettelkasten method, check my takeaways from the book How to Take Smart Notes.

Happy note taking!