How to effectively take notes and journal your stuff? 🤯

new work

There are different kind of notes. You can write things down to sum up some topics for learning and remembering stuff better. But most of us are also taking notes in our everyday life and work.

Are you thinking, you already heard about and read through all the tips, tricks and benefits of taking notes thousands of times. And why you should read on?

➡️ Because everyone has their own methods and you never know which gold nuggets you’ll find on the next lines.

On the most general level, a lot of methods may be similar, but the differences come in the personal details that each of us discovers for ourselves.

And I want to share mine with you today in the hope of bringing you valuable insights on note-taking and journaling. 📝

💡 What is note taking and journaling?

Note taking

When you’re taking notes, you write down information in a compressed way. You pick out the most important points of a topic and save them in a systematic way. With this approach you can get back to your notes later, review your topic of interest and remember the information more easily.


Journaling is a broader method that doesn’t focus on just one topic, but can be extended across many areas.
There are all kinds of approaches to what you can capture in a journal. Unlike a diary, where you usually only record what has happened, journals often include thoughts, to-do lists and other notes from your everyday life.
So, in contrast to just taking notes, journaling is a nice option for all of your daily life.

📝 Pen & paper vs. keyboard notes

What kind of note taker or journal writer are you? Do you prefer to write on pen and paper or are you a fan of digital writing?

Let me start by saying that neither method is better than the other, and both can add significant value when it comes to keeping track of the most important stuff.

Neither method is better than the other, and both can add significant value.

Pen & paper is very flexible and independent of any digital tools, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen and you’re ready to go. Writing is a bit slower than with a keyboard, but you can sketch extremely fast. 📝

Digital notes are usually written with a keyboard, ⌨️ and if you have mastered the technology to some extent, you can make many more notes in the same amount of time as with handwriting. On a laptop or PC, however, the ability to sketch quickly leaves something to be desired.

So if one or the other is more important to you, you can already make a decision on how you want to keep your journal.

A good combination seems to be a tablet.You can use a keyboard at the same time to take notes when you need to do it quickly, but also sketch with a digital pen.

💻 Notes with Notion

The jack of all trades for documenting – and more

For me, Notion is one of the tools that one can use for almost everything. You can:

  • document & share your information
  • keep track of your tasks for example with Kanban boards
  • draft your blog writing
  • publish your sites.

I’ve the feeling this list is growing each day and it could get endless. And the best thing on Notion: you can use it on a personal free plan for a lot of thing in your daily work. For sure, there are some limitations. But to organize your personal and professional to-dos, the free version is more than enough! 👀 🤑

🧱 My way of note taking & journaling

How I use Notion

I got introduced to Notion during the prep-tasks of the UX/UI Bootcamp and haven’t wanted to do without it since. It allows me to easily sort and manage my various notes.

I have set up a Notion page as my notes page. To save links quickly and easily, I use the Chrome extension Notion Web Clipper.

In addition to my notes list, I set up a Kanban board in Notion for my blogposts. My kanban has four columns:

  • Ideas
  • In progress
  • Completed
  • Published

This way I have my blog ideas centrally available in one place and can see at a glance which topics still need work for me, or which post will go live next.

Notes taken in Notion with a kanban board
Note taking in Notion with a kanban board


For my everyday tasks, however, I like to fall back on my journal. For this, I use a flexible notebook system from Herlitz*. With the*, the inner notebook can be exchanged, so I can always reuse the beautiful, yet inexpensive linen-look cover.

I use blank paper, without plaid, lines or dots, as I find that the most flexible. My space requirement is half a page per weekday. There I jot down the most important to-dos and create a small section where I jot down 3 good things I experienced that day each evening. 😊

My journal doesn’t look as fancy as the bullet journals on Instagram. Sometimes I draw little icons or symbols to go with a task or experience. But basically I keep it relatively plain and without color. Way too elaborate to make quick notes. The only thing I make a point of is writing in fountain pen* rather than ballpoint. 🖋

🛠 Other note taking tools

How are you taking notes? Do you have a daily routine to write, work through and check you notes? I am curious and happy to hear about it. Share your thoughts and comments with me on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Links marked with * are advertising links. If you buy a product through these links, you support this newsletter with a small contribution.