Noteflow - 54

I read for two reasons:

  • Enjoyment
  • Learning

I often feel like note-taking gets in the way of my reading. I need to maximize reading's two values simultaneously, not sacrifice one for the other.

Today, I spent about half an hour reading an article from Foreign Affairs on the ongoing and future US/China "cold war." The reason it took me this long is that I was highlighting and annotating while I read - but more importantly, I spent a while after I read the article just summarizing the three important points that the author of the article made. Not only do I feel as though I understand much better what I read, but I feel like I had more fun actually reading the article; I think, and this is just a guess, that conscious consumption is actually a lot more fun for me than unconscious consumption.

Anyway, here's a prototype system I have for taking notes:

Articles, posts, etc.

  1. Get articles through RSS feed or apps
  2. Get articles into a usable form (i.e. a form that I can mark up with little effort)
    • printing will definitely have the best resuslts (easiest, most pleasant experience, with plenty of space to annotate)
    • but for portability and simplicity reasons, I may want to (a) save it as a PDF and annotate on a device or (b) email it to my kindle.
      • I will ask around for digital note-taking tips
  3. Annotate (short reminders of ideas I have while reading) and highlight as I read
  4. Summarize/write up salient points in my own words, along with other notes, further research topics/questions, etc.
  5. Figure out what to do with the summary points (hopefully one day I will have a zettelkasten to move some of this stuff into)


  1. Get books (ebooks or print) on kindle or in print
  2. Read and annotate in chapter-long sessions
  3. At the end of the chapter summarize and do what I do with articles
  4. Figure out what to do with all this.


  1. Get podcast episodes via RSS, subscription, or recommendation
  2. Take airrquotes and use the 'hey siri, create a new note' feature (siri is only enabled when I have wireless headphones, so this may not work in every context
  3. Dictate my takeaways, summary, and review my airrquotes in a note
  4. Figure out what to do with info/notes/all this.

And by notes, I mean... well, infomation in a brief format? The idea of 'Notes' is rather abstract, so I'll have to put some thoughts into what they are and different types. That is definitely something interesting to explore.


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