The most important aspect of note-taking
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“What is the most important aspect of note-taking?”
“Processing the information.
There are two types of note-taking:
Passive note-taking – saving information by copy/pasting it; effortless, and low value.
Active note-taking – processing information before saving it; effortful, and high value.”
“I noticed I have a tendency toward passive note-taking.”
“We all do. The path of least resistance is our default. An important aspect of the growth process is countering this tendency. The best way to counter it is by putting systems in place.
In the case of the note-taking process, you can insert an intermediary step, a mandatory processing stage.”
“So passive note-taking has two stages: A => B
Active note-taking has three stages: A => P => B”
Just like in passive note-taking, you copy/paste the information in the processing area.
Unlike passive note-taking, the information leaves the area only after you’ve processed it.”
“What is the output of processing?”
“Think of processing as an opportunity to practice multiple skills in a short time-frame – life-stacking [<link; medium read] style.
You can practice editing/proofreading. Copy the text as is, and look at it with the editing eye. Do a structural and stylistic analysis, and think of ways to improve it.
You can practice meta-thinking [<link; short read]. Do a meaning analysis, deconstruct the meaning and identify the units of meaning – models, metaphors, mental operations, underlying assumptions.
You can practice writing. Express the information in your own words (paraphrasing) and in as few words as possible (brevity). Start developing and integrating the ideas by asking questions (questioning) and connecting them with your prior knowledge and experiences.”