5. Optimal Note-Taking Way to Gain Maximum Effect

5. Optimal Note-Taking Way to Gain Maximum Effect

The “note-taking” is a method of a considerably high degree of perfection, a method reached after many trials and improvements. It doesn’t look like much at a glance, but it is packed with practical ideas. For those who want to cultivate their abilities, it is best to practice the note-taking following the format.

Basic points of the method

When taking notes on horizontal Letter paper, write a title in the upper left and underline it. In the upper right, put the date. It is just that simple. Not in a notebook, not on a computer, not on cards, not on a small note pad—on Letter paper.

Notes consist of a title, four to six lines of main text (ten to twenty words per line), and a date—all written within one minute. Each line begins with a dash (—) and aligns with the left, just like the example below. This left-alignment is because there are times when writing will be added on the right side as well.

How to write titles

For a title (which is the theme of the note), anything is fine. Without hesitating, write out whatever comes
to mind as is. This can look something like this:

{Titles related to work}
・How can I work faster?
・Times when I can work well/times when I can’t
・When is my work interrupted?

{Titles related to your private life}
・How can I make my communication with him/her go smoother?
・What is he/she interested in?
・What can I do to make them look my way more?

In this way, you make the words that come to your mind into titles themselves. There’s no reason to think hard on them. You must not think hard on them. These are not anything you will show to others, so write the phrases that come to mind as is in the upper left of sheets of Letter paper.

How to write the main text

Write what comes to mind as it comes without any excessive consideration. Write it just as you felt it. No thinking of difficult things. No thinking of composition, either. No selecting words; just thoughts as they come. There are those for whom only one or two lines will come out, but this is no cause for concern. Anyone will soon be able to write out more.

For each line, if they are too short, they will not be sufficiently concrete nor be good practice in verbalizing the hazy feelings in your mind. So, use ten to twenty words per line. At this length, they will have a more or less sufficient substance to them.

Since you only have one minute, trying to write out ten to twenty words per line, most people will be able to write four lines, and those who write well five or six. It’s also true that setting a time limit at one minute is designed to discourage coming up with extraneous matters.

What do you write?

Things that strike you, things you are hung up on, doubts, what you need to do next, challenges in your growth, infuriating things you cannot forgive—write whatever comes to mind. Just record phrases exactly as they come to mind.

It’s not something you will show to others, so in titles and in the main text, too, write down the names of people you hate without obscuring them. The more you write everything concretely, the more you will be able to write without blurring your focus. Holding back is forbidden. By writing frankly, you will feel refreshed, as though you have cleaned out the garbage from your room. Your heart will be kept tidy and orderly, and by fixing your gaze on exactly what is troubling you, your troubles will also drastically diminish.

There are 400 examples of note titles in the book “Zero Second Thinking”. At times when no matter what nothing comes to mind, or while you are still not accustomed to note-taking, it is fine to use them.

▶Next: Further Potential of Note-Taking

Order Now on

Chapter 1 : Tips for “Thinking”
Chapter 2 : Humans Can Think in Zero Seconds
Chapter 3 : The Note-taking Method for Cultivating Zero Second Thinking
Chapter 4 : Utilizing Notes to the Fullest Extent
Chapter 5 : Organizing and Utilizing Notes

▼Article series on “Zero Second Thinking”
1. The World’s Simplest Way to Improve Your Thinking
2. Useful Tips for “Thinking Deeply”
3. How Much Time Is Spent Thinking and Making Decisions?
4. Humans Are Intelligent Enough to Think in Zero Second
5. Optimal Note-Taking Way to Gain Maximum Effect
6. Further Potential of Note-Taking
7. Things to Do After Writing Notes
▼Related article
The Seven Keys to Accelerate Management Innovation
▼Contact Yuji Akaba
・E-mail :