Quick Tip: The Index Card Shuffle

Going into a meeting with a lot of people, and you just know that the topics will jump around quite a bit? Bring in a small stack of index cards, and create one per note-taking topic. When a previously-discussed topic comes up again, simply shuffle back and keep adding to the appropriate card. By the end of the meeting, all your notes will be topic-specific and as coherent as possible.

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Not a good idea - use Mind Map!

I have done small and big mind maps through 25 year - absolutely the best note taking method ever!

Sitting and shuffle 10-20 index cards - argh....


You're BOTH right...

...and that's the whole point of having tips. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. But if we ALL put our tips out there, we'll all likely find something new to try and it may be just what we need. It's never a matter of one way is right and one way is wrong...just something works for you, or it doesn't.

Two Sides

You ARE both right....mind map on one side of the card, bullet points on the other side.

I agree with Finn

Perhaps heresy, but I think Doug missed the boat on this one. At least for the meetings I've been in, the topics can hop around frequently, and often refer to one another -- something a mind map excels at, since you can just slap an arrow down across the page pointing to the other topic. I like maps because I am not trying to be "tidy" at the same time I'm doing "capture", and keeping distinct cards per topic (to me) sounds like tidy-as-you-go. I've never been able to manage that well, frankly. Easier for me to turn a legal pad sideways and write it all out there. (An index card would be far too tiny!)

AFTER the meeting is over and the dust has settled would be the time for index cards, using them as a flexible, movable outline for the ideas that you'll dutifully rewrite from your scrawled-all-over map.

Alternately, you could be a meeting goon and insist that people only talk about the three cards you have on the top of your stack. ("No no! Budget items are in the pile! No talking about budget items until I find them!") :-D

Mind Maps for Note-taking

Actually, I agree completely... I find a mind map is the best way of taking *collective* notes in a group and brainstorming. Index cards, for me, are best when it's for my personal use within a meeting. I may not have the ability to write on a wide sheet of paper or use a computer to create a mind map in such meetings, and so the index cards become an always-there, always-portable way of taking non-linear notes. Impromptu meetings, meetings at cafes while sitting on couches, or those affairs when you're one of many people sitting on random chairs or leaning against walls --these are handy places to whip out your index cards.

all my best,

Thanks for the tip, Doug.

Thanks for the tip, Doug. And we don't have to limit its use to meetings alone. It'll work for to-do lists, too.

Instead of having a running list of things to do, with little or no space below each item, use one index card per to-do item so there's space for notes to self regarding item, etc.

Good Tip, What I Do Is...

Thanks for the tip Doug,

I do something quite similar. Instead of using an index card for each different topic that pops up, I usually use a post-it note (I like the medium sized lined ones). I find them a bit easier to transport around and when the meeting ends, I stick them right to the page I'll be using to review the notes later. There is an added benefit - when you drop the index cards (as I will usually do), you will not have to play 52 pick-up.

This was my first post!