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This is my current notetaking methodology for long term retention of notes, and how my brain is processing information in real time

The basic principle is such:

  1. Learn - Structured
  2. Apply - Unstructured
  3. Reflect - Structured

This is how my brain understands and processes information, broken down into 3 categories: 1. How the brain Works. 2. Philosophy of Learning. 3. Tools to enhance the process

1. Learn


Learning is like growing knowledge nodes into trees. Basically, I learn from people that are smarter than me, in different fields of applications. Usually these people will be experts in the industry. Say Stephen Hawking or Tom Scott for instance. I would learn it through a platform that inherently organizes the information, say lynda.com. Its inherently structured normally unless whoever is organizing the information does it poorly, in that event LEARN - > APPLY are cycled back and forth.

In many ways this is a top down learning approach


The brain works by associating knowledge from others to yourself. Writing down notes helps in that process. http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1079173-i-made-this.


Tools include youtube, lynda.com, MooC or any authoritative online resource. You can play it back rewind video at your leisure to understand the concepts being taught, depending on how difficult. Or even notes from textbooks too. Or Ama forum posts from smart people in that field. I take my notes via app.classeur.IO and shareX in a scalable method. See post http://www.tangycode.com/My-Notetaking-Method-Reddit-Post/ more information

2. Apply


This is inherently unstructured. Its like googling an issue to a computer problem that only you seem to have. You have to basically write a paper from scratch and source all the information you had to get in order to solve a difficult problem. Like building a cloned version of minecraft. There might not be a lot of documentnation on it, so you have to ask lots of questions on stackoverflow and create project log notes of your thought process unless (KXCD reference programmer interrupted). http://imgur.com/gallery/3uyRWGJ

In many ways this is a bottoms up learning approach


The brain works by forming synapses, or associations of knowledge from different areas. People who have many synapsues / many hobbies tell better jokes in general and make better analogies as a whole.


Tools include asking questions on stackoverflow, capturing batshit crazy ideas to the moon, creating a fast sprinting log for notes that might be super long or really short - depending on how many steps it took to solve a problem, prose.IO +shareX+jekyll blog for capturing sprint notes

3. Reflect


This goes into understanding that the brain can only retain so much information at a time. There’s been many studies on this although I didn’t reference them. Basically, there’s something called a forgetting curve, which is inversely exponentially to time. Things you learn are fresh in your mind - things that you haven’t thought about or learned are not, and take sometime to refresh those notes

This is inherently structured, because you understand what the information and are trying to convey it to someone who doesn’t (r/ELI5 on reddit)


The brain works as node tend to degenerate over time if you don’t form associations with other notes, and reinforce those synapsuses


Tools include creating youtube videos using AdobePremierePro and AfterEffects. Other ways is to write a blog(personal, or not personal) to relay information to others. OR answering questions on stackoverflow, reddit, quora, etc. Or teaching and tutoring someone in real life. For me, its making diagrams and writing personal dev blog notes on this blog. Everyone has a different preference


This is how my current understanding of note methodologies work from my own perspective. Sometimes I have these urge thoughts that I HAVE TO WRITE down, whether its just randomly occuring to me, r/luciddreams style. For me its important because I firmly believe in capturing those breakthrough ideas and thoughts reinforces the brains ability to retain and process information, thereby allowing you to be smarter than you were before

No studies really have confirmed any of this to be true to my knowledge, but from my own ancedotal experiences and personal studies it seems to be this way. That’s what counts


Vincent Tang