Have you ever tried to save something on your computer or download the latest app to your phone just to get an annoying error message saying “memory is full, check your files and delete some of them first” or something similar? Have you ever felt that the thoughts are just stirring in your mind in an absolutely disorganised way and that made you unable to take in any more new information? How did it make you feel? Anxious, maybe irritated?
Taking notes is basically the same thing as archiving our files or photos on our devices in a structured way, deleting some if not needed any more, and as a result, freeing up some of the available memory. Making room for other, new things/thoughts/information to come. Otherwise your mind would get overloaded and that would lead to a burnout eventually.
We learn already at a young age that taking notes is important in life. This is what we do in school and at the university later on, then we take notes at work for example on meetings, but also having to-do-lists (both at work and probably at home), and even shopping lists for example.
With the Internet and thus Google becoming more and more popular and available for everybody a couple of decades ago, we have had to realise that remembering everything is not a necessity any more, you only need to know where to find the information and that actually gives you a chance to learn a lot more things by giving your memory some sort of freedom.
When you take notes, those notes don’t necessarily have to be in a structured way at first. You should look at it as a 2-step process maybe, where the first part is about to “empty” your mind onto a piece of paper or a virtual notepad – I personally find the old school pen and paper better than digital notes at this initial phase as for me somehow the action of handwriting in itself gives this liberating sensation – similarly to the mind mapping method, and once you have everything written down, you rearrange these facts, thoughts and feelings into some sort of organized document so that it is easier to read and follow through for someone else, should you need to share your notes later on.
I once heard that the most important thoughts tend to come whilst we are asleep, I suppose it has a lot to do with our subconscious mind, and that it is a good idea to keep a pen and notepad on the bedside table so that you can take notes if these thoughts wake you up during the night. If this is something bothering you, this method would help to relax and go back to sleep easier (remember that you have to “empty” your mind so that the urge to remember something later on the next day don’t frustrate you during the night) but I am pretty sure writers, musicians, and so many other people are using this method as well to remember their best ideas later on.
I hope you agree that taking notes is important and will give these methods a try. Feel free to share your experience below in a comment!