Reviewing Notes- An Unpopular Super Power
Consuming information is useless without a processing system.
Writing is a superpower. But it isn’t so because of the things you produce for others to consume. It is a superpower because it enables the writer to think more clearly. It enables the writer to identify flaws in their thinking. You shouldn’t publish about what you do not know. Many have done it, but it makes for poor reading. But you should write about it.
We should all strive to write better. Writing is the manifestation of one’s thoughts. What I’m saying is that we should all strive to be better thinkers. That’s what writing does.
Many considered consumption (particularly reading) to be the best way to get smarter. It’s a passive activity that has its place in the system. But its passive nature doesn’t force retention. Retention only happens when situations force you to recall information. When there’s no need to recall information, there’s no need to remember it.
A system needs to do two things: capture and review ideas.
Frictionless idea capture
We consume content all day via all sorts of media. Some of the content stands out and resonates. There must be a way to capture all those ideas. There are all sorts of ways to do this. You can use web highlighters, a word processing document, a spreadsheet, or with pen and paper. Once captured, you can free precious memory in your head for more complex thinking.
Critical: System of Review (and processing)
Capturing great ideas is useless without a system of review. Like the capture system, there are many ways to do this review. The catch is to review. I have succumbed to “shiny new object” syndrome with note-taking applications. An inbox of never-to-be-reviewed ideas is one symptom of this disease. The bottom line is review your captured ideas. Don’t pursue more content until you review existing content.
Set a reminder on whatever task management system or calendar you use. Set it for the end of the day. Devote some time to review and process notes and captured ideas. Develop a checklist of places to check for captured ideas. I capture ideas on a variety of media (digital and analog). Let your capture system be messy, if needed. But your review system must be thorough, consistent, and complete.