Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds While Note-taking

in #creativity2 months ago

writing on ipad with apple pencil

Handwritten notes help you retain your information more effectively -- image composed by author

I handwrite my notes and store them on my computer without transcribing

Jordan Mendiola’s post on Medium the other day about the benefits of taking notes using pen and paper caught my interest. The primary benefit of writing notes is increased ability to retain information. When you take the time to form words on paper, your mind makes a stronger connection with them than typing on the keyboard.

I agree with him. I prefer to write notes when I’m doing research. I find I move through the work faster while retaining more of it. I also like the flexibility of being able to write little side-notes or even rough sketch a concept.

I Prefer Written Notes and Electronic Storage

I really do prefer to keep my notes on the computer, preferably in an app I can access from any of my devices. I can keep them better organized than in a notebook. A few months ago I came across someone writing about the Notion app. I’ve grown rather fond of it and love that I can use it in my browser, on the desktop or on my devices.

In April I cashed out some of my crypto profits and invested in an iPad generation 8 and an Apple Pencil generation 1. My original purpose in doing so was to use it for graphic work and learning more about digital art creation for the books I’ve been publishing.

Then I found NEBO and discovered I can write my notes AND keep them on my computer.

I’ve Really Grown Fond of NEBO

NEBO is a note-taking app available for the PC and mobile devices. You can type notes or more importantly, you can write them. I had tried some other note-taking apps on the iPad but didn’t find the flexibility I have with NEBO. In the other apps, I was doing a lot of correcting the translation from my handwriting to text.

Not with NEBO, I’ve been amazed at how solidly it reads my handwriting and delivers the correct text. I threw my sloppiest penmanship at it. I was still getting used to using the pencil, sloppy was easy. I love the fluidity of the writing process in the app and when I’m ready for text, double tap on the screen and it appears. Still have to do some adjusting but it’s pretty minimal.

Transferring Notes to Notion is a Breeze

I haven’t found the import feature for Notion on the mobile version but it is available in the browser. I export my note from NEBO into Word and save it to my cloud drive. If I’ve free-formed the note with side-notes or sketch I export as a PDF without changing the note into text.

I have a cloud drive on my home network but any cloud would do the job. I then import into Notion and file it where I want it. When I’ve taken notes from a site, I then add the URL to the note and any screen captures I’ve done to support the notes.

Increased Productivity

My productivity level has risen since I started this process. Less time is spent moving between screens when I’m taking notes. When I want to use the notes, I open my browser on one screen and Scrivener on my laptop. Then I settle into writing, starting with the information I’ve retained through writing instead of typing the original notes.

Enjoy the best of both worlds, write your research notes and store them neatly electronically.

Note: originally published on pattimay.com


Shadowspub is a writer from Ontario, Canada. She writes on a variety of subjects as she pursues her passion for learning. She also writes on other platforms.

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This talk of research and taking notes makes me wonder if you're compiling a book 🤔

well I do publish books and some of them do require research. I also take notes on a lot of what I read for future reference. I did a pile of research for a series of gnome journals I recently started publishing.

🤣For real? Gnome journals? They going to be on Amazon? They have got to be good.

the first ones are up there.. I have some more to finish and upload.

Really cool, I've been very interested in this as well, so thanks for sharing. I'm especially interested in using this kind of app on an e-ink tablet or screen.

what is the difference between an e-ink tablet and an iPad? I'm not familiar with e-ink tablets.

The e-ink screen is the difference. E-ink screens, if you're not familiar with them, appear like regular paper, so it is just like looking at paper, not an electronic screen.

I agree with your perspective on note-taking, personally, I have been taking them on a book, but I think I will explore what technology has to offer because it is definitely very hard keeping a notebook organized, and also I don't like keeping things for long and sometimes I have discarded some precious notebooks just because I wanted to clear my head, having an app to store the notes would work better and I don't have to worry about feeling too crowded and I can reduce the number of notebooks I have.

Without writing there is no way to be articulate of one's thought process. Great reading your process of how you have upgraded to using apps to achieve this.


one of the things I like in Notion is being able to use tags on posts and then search on the tags. Using a consistent set of tags would allow for cross referencing notes

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