Notes on Taking Notes

Published October 15, 2018

With college back in season I’m getting back into the groove of taking notes.

Here’s mediums & strategies I use:

Pencil & Paper

In class, I’m fond of the old-fashioned pencil & paper. College-ruled notebooks are my go-to with engineering paper in reserve for when I need a grid. I’ve found myself preferring mechanical pencils due to the lead sharpness being consistent and there being no need to sharpen them. For the last couple years I’ve been using a Rotring 600 mechanical pencil with 0.7mm HB lead.

This method has the benefits of maintaining my penmanship skills & helping me retain information by physically writing it down.

Web Browser

Albeit unconventional, sometimes I want to jot down a couple of quick notes in a browser. I’m not looking for data retention, just a place to write — a scratch pad if you will. For this, I have a small bookmarklet (aptly named scratch”):

data:text/html, <body contenteditable style="font: 1rem/1.4 monospace;max-width:60rem;margin:0 auto;padding:2rem;"> <script> document.body.focus() </script>

This approach is simple: have a <body> element with contenteditable (allowing you to edit the contents) with some basic styling. A short <script> auto-focuses the <body>. Again, this doesn’t store the data but it’s very convenient to quickly have a typing area at my fingertips.


I spend a fair amount of time in a terminal so I wanted a way to quickly jot things down. After a bit of searching, I decided to roll my own script: jot.

It’s essentially a shortcut to creating a Markdown file in a pre-configured directory. I use it in a synced Dropbox folder & it works well.

Last modified January 31, 2019  #meta   #misc   #productivity 

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