Taking notes in high school may have seemed like a useless task, but there are phenomenal benefits that come with the overlooked skill. Keeping your mind organized is crucial to success, no matter what field you’re in, and taking notes is the ideal way to keep everything in line. Putting pen to paper opens up your creative side and keeps your mind engaged so you can fully absorb information. It also allows you to refine your memory-keeping abilities and ignites your brain’s ability to make connections, which is why police detectives carry interview field notebooks.
Although it’s encouraged to keep a trusty pen and notebook on you as a back-up, downloading the appropriate note-taking app is the way to go for planning, jotting down details, and capturing ideas at the moment in our modern technology-driven world. There’s nothing better than filling a blank page to keep your mind active and capable of learning, as the mere act of taking notes consists of digesting information, making sense of it, and re-wording it to keep it in your long-term memory. Take a look at our list of the best note-taking apps available and arm yourself with a pivotal tool that will help you find success amidst chaos.
Note-Taking Helps Memory
Processing Mode Activated
Listening to someone without doing anything to retain the information isn’t the most efficient way to learn because your brain can only hold between five to seven items in your short-term memory at one time. It doesn’t matter if you’re in college or working for a high-end tech company, note-taking helps because it allows you to interact with the information, and through that process, store the details in your long-term memory. Multi-sensory learning is the ideal form of learning anything new, which means the more senses you use to consume the information, the better you’ll learn it. Jotting down notes will allow the pieces of information you’re trying to absorb to enter your long-term memory in a way you’ll be able to retrieve it and use it later. Let’s take a brief look at the three types of memory:
Short-term memory: This is the 15 to 20-second time range when you’ve just learned new pieces of information. If you can hold onto the details, then it goes into your long-term memory.
Working memory: Pieces of information you’re using at the moment are in this tier of memory.
Long-term memory: This is where the informative knowledge you’ve learned is held indefinitely. However, pieces of information you’ve received might be harder to retrieve if you haven’t pulled them out to use in your working memory in a while.
Getting a note-taking app will help you organize your doodles and scribbles, but you can’t rely on technology completely. There are several note-taking tips you can benefit from to learn more efficiently. In a world where everyone thinks they can teach, learning is the more important skill to refine. Check out these helpful note-taking tips before you jump to the apps:
- Don’t restrict yourself to words. Feel free to draw some information out.
- Connect pieces of information together through a story to learn it better.
- Write down questions so you can look up answers for clarification later.
- Use headers and sub-headers to chunk the information for easier processing.
- Re-write information in your own words.
Winner of the 2017 Apple Design Award, this note-taking app will help you organize all of your details. If you’re all about Apple, this app is perfect since it’s compatible with Apple Watch and supports Apple Pencil. You take notes by writing, typing, or voice dictation, and add hashtags, cross-note links, and more to keep everything easy to navigate. If you’re more of a visual learner, the app will even give you the option of drawing. And you’re also able to find specific notes easily with keyword highlights. Upgrade to Bear Pro through the in-app subscription and gain export options such as HTML and PDF.
With Evernote, you’re able to record ideas and thoughts as searchable notes in addition to making checklists and to-do lists. If you’re more comfortable taking notes longhand, scan or digitize your physical notes with this versatile app. Sync your content across all smart devices so you can access them no matter what you’re using at the moment to share your ideas as well as give feedback to others. Using the easy-to-format word processor, you can create agendas, presentations, and memos to get the job done right.
Teamwork is crucial in long-term success, so Google Keep note-taking app makes it a breeze to share and collaborate on your notes across all devices. Learn the information you need to execute the task through notes, photos, lists, and audio to shift the information into your long-term memory. To make your notes easier to sift through, you can organize them with labels, categories, and colors. You’ll be able to filter and search for notes quickly with this convenient app and save yourself from struggling to juggle all the details.
When you need to capture your thoughts in an organized manner, Microsoft OneNote will assist you in doing so by allowing you to sort, name, and pin pages. For top secret material, you can secure notes via a password or touch ID. Using the app on an iPad, you can scribble down your notes or sketch your ideas without wasting any more paper. You’ll also be able to access your notes on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other devices so they’re with you any time you need them.
Notebook is exactly what it sounds like: a digitized journal where you can capture your ideas or write down reminders throughout the day. The app is simple and intimate, allowing you to take notes, sketch, record audio, make checklists, and more without any fancy, complicated designs. You can even add Word documents, PDFs, and spreadsheets with the file note card on the app. If you prefer hand-written notes, you can use your Apple Pencil or your finger to record the next big idea your brain produces.
Sometimes folders can seem overwhelming, so the Notion note-taking app swaps them out for nested pages instead, providing a cleaner look. Take notes on-the-go, create to-do lists, and add images to truly absorb the information you’re given. Thanks to the drag and drop feature, you can prioritize your content quickly and rearrange your to-do lists, depending on where the day takes you. Also, you can collaborate with others in real-time and edit your pages together.
For those who thrive on visual learning, the Paper note-taking app is made for you. The award-winning sketching app gives you the power to sketch, type, draw, and paint whenever an idea blossoms in your mind. You’ll be able to bring thoughts to life in gorgeous 3D journals with incredible gesture-based navigation. Keep your work organized in journals with custom covers and sync your creation across all devices so you can edit or pick up right where you left off. The app eliminates any complex layers so you can cut, move, and fix your creation without issues.
Life’s complicated enough as it is, so Simplenote keeps things easy on the eyes with a clean layout and straightforward features. Jot down notes, ideas, and lists in addition to setting reminders. The app is all about efficiency, as it’s created to be just as handy as a physical notebook but with improved organization. Back up your notes online and share notes with other users for team projects or for planning meetings. Keep it simple with this helpful app.
Keep your notes safe and secure with Standard Notes and find peace of mind with end-to-end encryption for 100% privacy. Your notes will be guarded against any prying eyes — whether that be from the app itself, your ISP, or the government. The app will secure your information with a passcode and fingerprint lock with an option to set a timer for unlocking to protect important details, ideas, or secret family recipes. You’ll be able to tag your notes, pin them, and save them as you write. There’s even an offline mode so you can access your notes or create new ones without having to be plugged in.
Dubbed Ulysses, this Apple Design Award-winner equips your mind with a distraction-free editor to manage various projects including diaries, journals, notes, and novels. It has a simple, immaculate interface with an ergonomic toolset to assist you in the entire writing process. Everything you jot down is stowed away in a unified library so you can manage and edit all your projects without any complications. You’re able to cate eBooks, PDFs, HTML, and more with this incredible app. You can even publish to WordPress and Medium with this advantageous note-taking tool.
Effortlessly use the Workflowy note-taking app to record ideas, make lists, and collaborate with your squad. Flexibility is the highlight of this app, providing you with various features to make your note-taking run smoothly, such as infinite nested lists, zoom-in, offline functionality, filters, tags, and more. Make sense of the chaos of the everyday grind by making to-do lists and storing ideas to help you stay ahead of the game. There’s even automatic syncing between your tablet, phone, and computer so you can utilize the app’s note-taking superpowers wherever you go.
For those who find it difficult to jot down details, iA Writer is a note-taking app solution with a Focus Mode that dims everything but a chosen sentence or paragraph. There’s also an inverted Light-On-Dark Mode to help you record your thoughts and ideas without struggling to see the text. The amazing app will also assist you in cleaning up your text, as it spots superfluous adjectives, repetitive nouns, frail verbs, and more. When your notes are ready to go, you can export them to WordPress or Medium in no time at all.
15 Best Everyday Carry Pens
Now that you’ve got a go-to note-taking app to handle most of your notes, make sure you have a reliable pen for the rare moments you don’t have any tech around. Check out our picks for the best everyday carry pens so you can have a note-taking back-up.