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What is note-taking

Definition: Note-taking is a method of recording temporary but essential information for greater performance. In a systemized way, note-taking helps structure information during meetings and make it easy to recall the materials later. 

Writing down ideas helps with focus and managing tasks. Consistent note-taking brings value to easy-to-review classified information systems. 

Digital note-taking apps tend to take over traditional shorthand because of the neat, quick, and effortless editing nature of digital space.

Benefits of note-taking

Note-taking is a tool for learning, business, and personal planning. Research proves various methods of note-taking help recall information better, remember more important ideas, and understand their relationships.  

Improved productivity: note-taking gives a great overview of key concepts or items. Taking notes in meetings, during feedback, and during planning is proactive since the mind is more alert to take in information and retrieve it for better performance. 

Business success: note-taking is effective for managers not only to improve team efficiency but also the quality of the product. Sharing information from notes simplifies processes and prevents errors. Review meeting notes to find areas for improvement and create plans.

Collaboration within a team: Jumping from project to project makes teams and remote teams use centralized note-taking workspaces to discern issues faster, maintain focus, and organize. When collaborating through the process, teams become more effective and efficient if they take notes in lists, maps, or visuals.

Note-taking methods

Note-taking method #1: The Outline method

In the Outline method, notes are organized coherently and divided by main points to sketch out details:

  • Divide notes into main categories and sub-categories. 
  • Use bullets or Roman letters in headings, followed by letters and numbers on other levels to structure information.
  • Dilute the topic by breaking it down into different sub-categories and defining specifics – the structure uses logic and clarity to break down elements of a key topic. 


  • Revise notes easily and add more entries or rows.
  • Make notes easy for everyone on the team to understand.


  • Difficult to outline during a presentation, meeting, or discussion.
  • It is complicated to use for visuals and diagrams.

Note-taking method #2: The Cornell Method

How to Take Notes Using the Cornell Note-Taking Method

The Cornell Method is a popular system of note-taking developed by Cornell professor Walter Pauk in the 1950s for students to follow lectures more productively.

Divide a page by splitting it into columns–the big column is for jotting down the main points. Draw questions and keywords into the smaller column. Summarize at the bottom of the page. 

The Cornell notes act as a guide for making work decisions and taking action, testing, or optimizing. 


  • Foolproof note overview over longer periods of time.
  • Notes are structured but simplified for easy sharing and collaboration.


  • The Cornell Method takes time to prepare.
  • It's not as easy to write down and follow the full content of the meeting.

Note-taking method #3: The Mapping Method

The mapping method visualizes information for better comprehension of new ideas and their relationships. Mapped-out ideas motivate creativity and creative expression of teams using diagrams, images, and maps. 

Visual learners thrive on graphically presented information. Break the main focus into sub-topics or use arrows to connect points to related factors and explain how they affect the main focus.


  • Introducing new ideas effectively.
  • Fantastic for those who process information visually.


  • Requires additional effort and planning.
  • Unable to capture discussions.

Note-taking method #4: The Boxing Method

The Boxing Method is a visual note-taking approach, one where related ideas and information are bundled in a box with brief explanations of their elements.

Digital boxing notes are beneficial for learning and planning projects.


Recognize key details in boxed notes.

Prevent the notes from becoming cluttered.


Not useful for fast-paced meetings.

Not much space for longer notes.

Note-taking method #5: The Charting Method

The charting method of note-taking places information into a structured overview of multiple features of a concept or item. 

Note-taking inside a chart is a level that allows many dimensions of information in a clear and concise rundown of noteworthy ideas. Make categories into columns and sort information into appropriate categories to problematize relationships. 


  • Great for consecutive note-taking.
  • Examine item comparisons.


  • Locating appropriate categories is time-consuming.
  • Difficult to prepare for too much information.

What should be avoided when note-taking

Writing in full sentences is inefficient for most note-taking layouts, and it’s time-consuming. Replace long words and phrases with abbreviations and symbols that are easy to remember.

Losing focus during note-taking on key points and items disrupts the structure and threatens the process. Use color-coding systems and clear language to avoid improvising and stay on topic.

No note-taking prep or instructions beforehand a meeting or at work allows for failing to retain information. Sort out notes daily, complete what’s done, and lay the groundwork for fresh noteworthy ideas.

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Article FAQs

What are note-taking apps?
Note-taking apps l are designed to record and organize information easily and accurately. It is the optimal way for business professionals to stay organized and efficient as they manage multiple projects at once.
What is the purpose of note-taking apps?
Note-taking apps allow users to take notes, store documents, analyze progress, and share information for collaborative editing. Integrating information from notes enables more efficient decision-making and prioritization.
What are the disadvantages of note-taking?
In fast-paced workplaces, note-taking takes time and focus. Many business professionals face challenges with simultaneous active listening and note-taking. It takes a lot of work to correctly record meetings, presentations, or event data.
What are some tips for good note-taking?
Avoid jargon when taking notes to avoid confusion during revision. Write short terms and key phrases to highlight the most important topics. Understand the link between information by visualizing it using diagrams and maps.

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