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Two Phases of Note Taking

Two Phases of Note Taking

There are two phases of note-taking: fast and durable (1). Phase one is taking fast or "fleeting" notes. I've realized that for most of my life I've only been taking fast notes - jotting down ideas or brief takeaways from the content I'm consuming.

Durable notes are the second and most important phase of your note. Instead of only jotting something down quickly from a lesson or in the margins of a book - go back through and expand on the fast notes that resonate with you still.

Durable or Q.U.I.C.K. notes exist as standalone pieces of content or research that you can use almost as-is for the next project or larger piece of content. Almost everything in this email was created in the past as a Q.U.I.C.K. note and I re-assembled them for publication.

What is a Q.U.I.C.K. note? I developed my own acronym for what constitutes a useful note. Here are the elements...

Quality… writing, well thought out

Unique… perspective to your ideas

Individual… idea per card, i.e. one

Context… with other cards/categories

Knowledge… of your “second brain”

That may seem like a lot of effort to put into a simple note, but you're essentially creating the building blocks of future content! Now when the time comes to "create from scratch" - that's no longer a problem! All you have to do is assemble Q.U.I.C.K. notes into a content cluster for publication. The process still takes a little time but the creative stress is almost non-existent. I've already done the work!

(1) Taken from Sonke Ahrens book How to Take Smart Notes, which is based on Niklas Luhmann's Zettelkasten 🧠