How to Be More Productive – Let Not Your Notes Collect Dust

Are you guilty of attending a seminar, writing down lots of notes, and then going home only to implement nothing? (Let me take a moment and raise my hand high…) If you want to implement more of what you are learning, then keep reading.

how to be more productive

Note taking is a great habit to form. There is no disputing the fact that we retain more of the information we are consuming when we become an “active listener.” You become an active listener by writing down the things you are learning. It is the first essential step in taking action on the things you want to implement.

The hard step is often the next step. What do you do with that information? Do you set it on the shelf? Is the job over now that you have written it down?

The answer is no! Learning often gives us this false sense of progress. Wisdom is you putting action to your knowledge. I want to share with you at least 3 different ways I have attempted to turn knowledge into wisdom.

1. Use Workflowy as a Personal Learning Library

I love using workflowy as a learning tool. Workflowy is an easy-to-use outlining software. I love to record notes in Workflowy anytime I am watching a training video online.

If you purchase online courses, don’t just watch the videos. Take action by writing notes. What I typically will do is open two browsers side by side. The video is on the left and my workflowy notes are on the right (see pic below).

how to be an active note taker


Later, I can search for any topic in Workflowy and have all kinds of information at my finger tips.

2. Use Evernote as a Growing Resource Catalog

I also use Evernote as a way to not let things I am learning escape me. Oftentimes you will come across PDFs, eBooks, Special Reports, and blog posts that you want to remember about. For this type of information, Evernote is a better choice over Workflowy. I created a folder in Evernote called “Learning.”

learning notebook in evernote


This is a central place for me to store the PDFs, written transcripts, and anything else that comes with online courses I am taking. I will then use the “tags” feature to label each note according to the course I am taking.

For example, I am a member of Michael Hyatt’s Platform University. I have a tag inside Evernote called “PlatU.” Every month new transcripts and study guides are made available. They make it into Evernote and get tagged (see pic).

How I use evernote with Platform University


Again, what is great about using Evernote is the fact that I will be able to search by topic later.

3. The Speed of Implementation Habit

The last and final tip I have for you is to learn a habit called “speed of implementation.” Develop a habit of balancing your learning with action. For ever hour you spend learning, spend an hour taking action.

This will get you out of the rut of thinking “I’m not ready.” Some of us think that we need to learn all there is to learn before we can start. The truth is you should start before you are ready. As I have talked about before, clarity comes from movement.

Question: What do you do to not let your notes collect dust? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    4 thoughts on “How to Be More Productive – Let Not Your Notes Collect Dust

    1. I am quite possibly the queen of note-taking and usually I’m good about tagging those notes and saving to Evernote. The breakdown in my system occurs when I don’t act on my notes and scribbles and all of my great ideas become just reference material. I love the idea of balancing an hour of learning with an hour taking action!

      • I know how you feel! I try to ask myself “what’s at least one idea from this that I’m excited about and should implement right away?” That often helps me. Another thing you can do (since everything is being captured in Evernote) is to have a monthly focus on a theme you want to grow in and do a search inside Evernote, tag all of your notes about that theme, and go through them looking for action steps you can take.