What’s The Best Way to Take Notes?

I’ve always been a big fan of Evernote and of Livescribe pens and paper.  Both are using modern technologies that help you store everything you write down and even the audio from meetings, lectures, etc.  But what’s the right technology for you?  Lifehacker takes a close look at some of the technologies and rates them for the average note taker.

You have about a billion options for notes apps on your computer and your smartphone. Picking one that works for you is surprisingly tough, and chances are that none of them are going to perfectly fit your needs. For apps, these usually fall into two categories: the “everything bucket” of something like Evernote, or the minimalism of a plain text app like Simplenote. Here’s who those apps are best for, as well as when pen and paper does the job just as well.

While we might associate note-taking with school, it’s something most of us continue doing for the bulk of our lives. Everyone takes notes a little differently, and everyone needs something a little different from their notes app. Whether you’re a student, a designer, an accountant, or anything else, here are the pros and cons of the various notes apps out there:

Evernote: Lets You Save Everything, Forever

Evernote does all kinds of things from digitizing your paper notes to working as a massive reference system. Think of it as a digital bucket of information that wants to hold every idea, business card, note, picture, screen shotto-do,journal and meal you’ve ever had.

Good, Old-Fashioned Jotted-Down Notes

Evernote (and apps like it) aren’t for everyone. They’re complicated, take a while to use, and since they can handle everything, it often takes longer to open up the app and get to a note then it does to actually write that note. If that sounds too complicated, plain text might be the best way for you to take notes.

Simplenote syncs across devices, provides a tagging system to track down old notes, and allows you to easily organize those notes with headers. When you open the app, you’re greeted with a simple screen where you can instantly start typing your note. You don’t need to worry about where it goes or organizing it. Just type your idea and get out of the program.

LiveScribe: Write it down, capture the audio while you write and then review/share it.

I’ve recommended LiveScribe to everyone who’ll listen.  I’ve had their CEO on the show before. (Listen here and here).  Record everything you write, hear or say. Replay your meetings or lectures simply by tapping on your notes.

Transfer your notes and audio to your computer via USB cable and Livescribe Desktop will save everything for fast, easy access to what’s important.  You can even get a pen that’ll automatically upload to Evernote.  Doesn’t get easier than that, and for once, you’ll never forget.

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