I have written before about Ryan Holliday’s system and how I feel about it. Well I have refined this a little further now.
I like notebooks and being able to write in a nice fountain pen and index cards didn’t really do that for me, they are scratchy and not designed for that. In addition some books were generating a huge number of cards and so I was beginning to fill up card boxes quite quickly. It meant I wasn’t able to flip through my index cards and allow new ideas to float up. So I have gone back to taking notes in a notebook, I also like the neatness, as well as the actual process of writing.
So, I now read a book and put lots of flags in it and leave it to sit for at least a week. I then go back and copy out quotes, notes and my reflections into my favourite notebook using my favourite fountain pens. Once I have done that I leave it a bit longer. Then I choose at the maximum ten quotes to write up onto index cards. These go in my card box. If I have thoughts that might filter into blog posts or wider projects these get written up too.
Yes, this is a long winded process, but it means I am really absorbing the information and it is getting under my skin. As much as I am always looking for efficiency this process is about learning and understanding.
Because I am paranoid and I like to be able to access my information everywhere I scan in all the index cards into Evernote as single notes and then use the photo capture facility on Evernote to create a document for each book that I have taken notes on. It also means that all of my research isn’t lost if we were burgled (although I am not sure who would want to steal a stack of notebooks) or there was a fire.