Why make notes while reading?
And how you can too in four easy steps
One thing that was my this year goal was to read more. But reading more also means that you are digesting so much information which your mind cannot store. But does it really need to store?
Good question, something that I have realized over time is that our mind is just here to understand and conceptualize things for us, but it’s not a database that will store all records of whatever you do, read or watch.
The reason we are able to remember things is all based on mind mapping skills. Our mind can easily remember links, for instance, →
Imagine your friend gets a new dog. Your brain quickly learns this new link between your friend and the dog. Every time you see this dog, you know it belongs to your friend.
So what makes our minds capable enough to link things together?
Well to be scientific about it… Every time we look at something, a bunch of nerve cells in our brain get powered on and pass on messages to other nerve cells about what we are looking at.
So, if we want to know if a nerve cell has been powered on by something (e.g., your friend or his dog), we need to be able to listen to these messages. When nerve cells get powered on, they send their messages to one another in the form of small electric currents. which can be measured.
Now since we have a good idea by now how this works, let’s see why writing things down helps us.
When we are reading anything, going through any videos our mind is actively working with us trying to comprehend and make logic of topics we are consuming. Now while we are doing this activity the brain is performing at its max consuming with different senses.
Now since this is a complex activity already by the end we have a lot of information. And it’s unreasonable for us to expect our brain to remember it fully. So we make notes.
Note-taking after consuming any information helps in revising, making links in our brain with the whole of information, and then finally making a physical record of the information. This is very helpful as it helps in creating a record of this information in very bit-sized bits which helps in referring to it whenever we want to.
An effective of doing it, which has proven great for us (Be sure to experiment and not follow this fully) →
Read about the book before starting up so that you have an idea about what you are getting into.
Maintain a book section on any note-taking apps like: Notion, Obsidian, Roam, Google Keep, Apple Notes, etc. This is super helpful because all your books come in one folder.
At the end of each chapter write a few bullet points that summarize what you’ve read and make it personal if you can — that is, apply it to something in your life. Also, note any unanswered questions. When you’re done with the book, put it down for a week.
Pick up the book again and go through all your notes. Most of these will be garbage but there will be lots you want to remember. You can re-iterate your notes which will again help in revising the topic/book.