Taking effective notes is one key strategy to develop as a student. But what’s the point of trying to build your knowledge if you don’t know where anything is stored?
Adopting useful organizational methods will give you an improved understanding and a better awareness of your notes. It will save you time searching for essential information in the heaping rush of exams and make it easy to grasp your progress across different classes. Here are five tips for organizing your study notes efficiently.
1. Learn Where Your Notes Are Stored
Often, knowing where information is stored is equally important as the content itself. Using this strategy, you’ll be able to access crucial information without hesitation, which is useful when exams are on the horizon. Learning where your notes are stored, and the organization of your workspace as a whole, makes your life easier as a student.
Importantly, it gives your notes more clarity—by being more aware of the hierarchy of your workspace, you can better relate to your notes, making the process of note-keeping more intentional and meaningful. So, what are some useful ways you can learn where your notes are stored?
Use Bidirectional Links
Creating bidirectional links is one strategy that helps you build awareness of where your notes are stored. Simply put, a bidirectional link is a reference (with a subsequent backlink) that navigates you to another page in your workspace.
Using bidirectional links gives you insight into how your notes are structured as a whole. As well as instantly retrieving the location of note pages via the click of a button, bidirectional links also allow you to question whether files are stored appropriately. If a referenced file takes you to a completely unrelated folder, you may consider moving it to a more appropriate folder.
To implement this technique, you may wish to explore this guide on how to link two or more pages together in Notion.
Give Notes Meaningful Titles
Giving notes descriptive and meaningful titles is one of the best ways you can improve your knowledge of your workspace’s structure. The key benefit here is being able to view your notes in your list of files and instantly understand what they are without having to open them.
Try to pick a title that best summarizes what’s inside the document. Don’t worry if this doesn’t come straight away—sometimes the best titles are developed after finishing typing notes, when you have a full idea of all the document’s contents.
The more effort you put into creating meaningful titles, the easier it will be to retrieve information at a later stage. With effective document titles in place, you won’t have to think twice about where your knowledge is stored.
2. Discard What You Don’t Need
Research has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of rereading notes as a studying technique. Yet, many students still spend hours trudging through already-written notes trying to understand what they meant.
The best way to learn is to focus on creating new content rather than letting old content grow extortionately. Removing old information from your digital workspace helps remove unneeded mental baggage and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. It also opens the space necessary for you to learn new content and grow as a student.
You may wish to explore some websites that can help you in your decluttering journey and help you adopt a minimalist mindset. Creating multiple revision documents on a topic is a well-known studying technique. So, when you notice older notes growing in your digital workspace, discard them, and instead focus on reinterpreting information on new note pages to accelerate your learning speed.
If you’re familiar with using a certain application, it’s not unlikely that you’ll use it for notes outside of your studies. Viewing all of your notes across multiple categories jammed into one interface, however, can be an organizational nightmare.
Having a separate workspace for your personal and work-related notes keeps your mind in line with one aspect of your life at a time and prevents distractions from unrelated notes.
Creating multiple workspaces is a feature of several note-taking applications. While some applications make you pay to create multiple workspaces, Notion allows you to create unlimited workspaces in its free plan.
To create a new workspace in Notion, click on your account name at the top of the sidebar. Then, in the top-right corner of the dialogue box that appears, click on the three dots and select Join or Create Workspace.
Having separate workspaces helps break down the mammoth task of organization and helps you to distinguish work time from play time.
4. Make Tidying Your Notes a Routine
Often, when viewing your untidy work desk, thinking to yourself: “I’ll do this someday becomes never.” The same applies to your digital workspace. Routines are a powerful way of ensuring things get done. They also give your brain less to think about in the long run.
Dedicating just 2-5 minutes at the start of your study session to tidy up your recently-created notes is a fantastic habit for keeping your workspace in good shape. It also helps you retune with the content covered in recent days before you dive back into learning.
This may be moving a page from a temporary unit (such as a “Today’s Notes” folder) to a permanent storage location (such as “Genetics”). Notion offers a seamless method to move pages with the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P.
As an additional routine, you may wish to set up a day of the week or month to organize your entire workspace—a task that is less urgent but still owns an important value.
5. Create an Essential Notes Folder for Your Most Important Documents
This technique is ideal if you’re an avid note-taker dealing with an overflow of documents. Even if you own a super-organized workspace, there are still times when it’s challenging to find a specific page.
Owning a folder dedicated to your most important notes within a broad category gives you instant access to crucial information. A simple name for this could be “Essential Notes”.
With this method in place, you’ll save time searching through your notes and looking for relevant information, crucial for last-minute revision sessions. You also needn’t worry about misplacing or losing files.
Use These Tips to Access Your Notes Effortlessly
Using these organizational strategies, you’ll have instant access to your most important files as exams approach. You’ll also gain a better understanding of the notes inside your workspace, giving them further clarity, so you can improve your knowledge and efficiency as an organized student.