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    This has been a problem I’ve also had, but compared to this text, I just can’t properly do the switch from reading a text (usually physical or ebook) to taking notes, such as on a laptop, or even in a notebook. I have a pretty bad reading endurance to begin with, which makes working with any books hard to begin with. My best hope is just to remember where I can find something, and look it up when I need it again.

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      You can go analog and use pen and paper. I’m going to give you some links that might help you.

      You can use translucent sticky notes to add notes to the books without obscuring the text below. They are available from many vendors, such as the linked above and this other one for example. You can also use index sticky notes to create your own organization on the side of the book and grant you quick access to the parts you need. Another useful tool are erasable highlighet pens like Pilot Frixion soft color highlighter which you can use to add highlights to your text that is not too agressive (pastel highlights don’t add too much noise to the book). Those are erasable with heat/friction, so you can remove them if you want.

      To be honest, I could go on forever about things like these but those items are the ones I think you’ll find useful right now. With them you can quickly annotate your books without taking your attention away from the context like when constantly executing context switches between laptop and book. I hope this helps.

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        Have you tried using stick it bookmarks? I just can’t use my laptop to take notes as it’s a focus killer. Adding many little color coded bookmarks with numbers or short annotations helps me return to hard parts and then when I feel like it to write useful notes.

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          No I haven’t but the idea isn’t bad. I’ll try it when I try reading a physical book the next time. The only problems seems to be that you’d either have to have the stickers with you all the time, or just read at home/work/etc.?

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            Leave the stickies in the book, depending on size?

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          I’ve described few tricks I’m using on rare occasions I’m reading paper books here, some might help. They feel pretty low context switch.

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          I find it incredible hard to take notes on things I read. First of all, it breaks the flow I’m in while reading. Secondly, reading and taking notes cost, for obvious reasons, more time. Time is the most scarce and precious recourse in my life (running a company, consulting and being a family father). I tell myself that I should take notes, but I rarely do. Then I tell myself, if I need to understand something better I can just re-read parts of the book. But that’s deceiving myself. I never re-read anything. Whenever I could benefit from re-reading something, there is always something new, more interesting, to read.

          I’ve given up fighting myself on this. Now I am just happy with myself for having read at all, and focus on reading things that I enjoy without any pressure to learn or retain anything at all.

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            Reading the book. Adding rough notes to Google Docs on my phone as I read. Summarizing sections in Google Docs as I finish them.

            I tried this with paper notes, and it worked. And it was kind of worth it since I can more or less remember stuff from that chapter, and even if I don’t I can just look at my notes.

            But as someone who already struggles to find time for reading compared to the itch of working on a project, it made the effort of reading so much higher I haven’t read a single chapter of the book since. Since even if I read it again just for pleasure, without making notes, part of me will be going “this time would be better spent if you were making notes”.

            So now I can’t enjoy that book anymore. Yay!

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              I started to write blog posts about every non-fiction book I read (1, 2, 3). That forces me to summaries good enough for some readers.

              The most interesting question is: How does a book change you? What will you do differently now that you read it?

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                As my brain becomes older (turned 50 this year) I’ve been looking for better ways to take notes. My current experiment is with MarginNote 3 and Liquid Text on an iPad Pro 12.9. I’m going to keep mixing in more advice (I’m liking Shichao’s and Edd’s Notes) until I find something I’m happy with.

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                  Any visual/spatial thinkers out there? How do you take notes?

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                    I wish there was a piece of software that organized notes into graphs so you could arbitrarily link notes together based on tags and such. There’s Tinderbox for macOS, but it’s $250…