Episode 89 of the Informed Life podcast features a conversation with information architect Kat King. Kat replied to one of my Twitter threads about note-taking, and I was intrigued by her approach. I recently saw her give a thoughtful presentation at the IA Conference and wanted to find out how she uses notes to learn and teach. So, this conversation focuses on note-taking as a means of learning.
Kat emphasized an idea that’s become increasingly important to me: notes aren’t just for remembering; the act of taking notes helps us be more present. As Kat put it,
The first way I took notes in classes was just to pay attention because I get distracted very easily; I have trouble focusing on what’s being said. And so, instead of trying to take notes in ways that I’ve been told are good ways to take notes to study from them, I accepted I wasn’t going to study from the notes. But it would be easier to do better if I paid attention, whether I took notes or not. And taking notes helps me pay attention.
She also described a breakthrough: realizing that taking notes isn’t a virtue per se but a means to an end. That’s my interpretation, at least — this is what Kat said:
my note-taking changed when I stopped trying to take notes because that’s what good people do.
It was one of many points in this conversation that had me nodding and smiling in recognition. Worth your attention.