Notes and indexes

notebook with blank pages

The best time to start taking notes was yesterday. Nearly everybody discovers note-taking too late. It is incredibly precious if you do something with your notes afterwards.

However, note-taking can benefit you even if you do not revisit your notes. It will help you memorize the content and allow you to listen to understand and not to respond since you can write down your intrusive responsive thoughts and pay attention to the other party.


When you want to revisit your notes, you need to know where they are. When you digitize your know notes, you might say that search is your way to discover the content. However, you can only re-discover the notes via a search that you know the correct search term for.

I recommend making an index and often multiple indexes for offline and online notes. In your offline journal, you can reserve pages at the beginning or the end (or both, no need to choose) for it. The indexes I would recommend are:

  1. General table of content, what happens on a page-by-page notice.
  2. People Index, lots of my notes are of conversations with people, list on which pages these people are mentioned.
  3. Topic Index, I have a few big recurring topics that generate notes across my notebooks, and I capture where they occur.

As soon as you can revisit notes quickly, their value increases at least 10-fold. It would cost you extra time (maybe 10%), but it gives you a 1000% return. If this had been a business case, you would approve it and started doing it right away ;).