1 min read

Discussions and notes

(About taking notes when having a discussion with another person. Working through an idea. Probably only useful to me.)

Often when I have a discussion I'll take notes. Usually this means scribbling down the things the person is saying them, slightly simplified and chopped up or chopped off, as they are saying them. I'll end up with pages and pages of notes about things they said here or there about this or that.

This does not feel like it works very well. I am distracted from listening, understanding, and answering by writing things down.

I wonder if it is better to wait until after I understand a point to write it down. So, if I hear a new idea, or a new topic, wait until I get the examples or the context or the explanation, or the summary after those things, and then write down the idea. Because then I have something to tie all the concrete stuff to.

On the other hand, this would make it easy for points I don't understand to get lost, because I don't have to look at them again after the meeting, when I'm processing my notes. Because the other thing I try to do with my notes is to process them later into a more coherent form – to put them "into my system." If I don't, I tend to leave them somewhere and forget about them, never reference them again. Because I know I won't be able to find the thing I need to know in there; it's too messy, and it only gets harder to understand the longer I wait to process them. Two weeks later I have no idea what we were talking about or what that bullet meant.

Still... I don't know. It could work, writing things down only after I understand them. Certainly it should make me more available for discussion in the moment. Maybe worth trying once.