The Librarian - The power of writing up your notes

If you are in classes or a lot of meetings, it is very likely that you take a lot of notes. That can be good. The simple act of writing something down dramatically improves your recall or memory - it is estimated you remember 10% of what you read, and 70% of what you write down.

However this is only a limited step. If you don't process your notes any more than that you will lose out on an important chance to both solidify your memories and provide the extra structure to make the knowledge truly useful.

Most knowledge isn't a collection of random facts but is a set of theories that facts hang on like leaves to a tree. Taking the time to write up your notes after your class or your meetings gives you a chance to

  • Reprocess the information, testing your recall and making the memories deeper
  • Test your understanding of the material
  • Allow you to build a structure in which the information sits which allows you to put it in a theoretical framework

By writing your notes the effort expended makes the memories deeper and more meaningful, and can also spark new thoughts. While it does take extra time, this time is highly productive and will reduce further studying and enhance productivity.


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