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Taking notes and learning new things

12 May, 2023

Following on from last weeks post about doing the work and learning on the way, I wanted to spend a little time talking about my methods for learning new things.

As humans, we never stop learning and more so now than ever we’re exposed to an endless amount of new information each day from the News, YouTube, blog posts, newsletters and the people around us. It’s important to be in control of how this information enters your brain.

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I came across this video about note taking by Jim Kwik, a mental coach for speed-reading, memory improvement and brain performance, which really resonated with me and its very similar to the approach I take. Screenshot of Jim Kwik’s video

Here’s how I do things.


First and foremost is making sure that the stuff I want to learn if coming to me from the right sources, rather than me having to search for it. I do this in three main ways:

  1. RSS Here I mainly subscribe to websites writing articles on web development, design, and tech. I use Feedly as my RSS reader.
  2. Podcasts Again, I mainly subscribe to tech related shows but also several business and finance ones.
  3. YouTube Here’s its mainly music production, gaming, DIY, and self improvement channels I subscribe to. I also make my own videos sometimes.


Once I find something I want to explore in more detail, I’ll add a note into my Notion inbox and add some tags. I’ll then come back throughout my week and either delve deeper into topics or organise things into topics for referencing later.

This is a good opportunity to add your own notes to the items you’ve saved, add links to articles and videos and pull out key bits of information.

Notion is great for this, but any form of capturing is fine. According to Jim’s video, hand writing notes increases comprehension and retention, although digital notes are better for editing and sharing.

Just pick something that is always accessible when you need it.


And finally, if its a topic which I’m trying to get better at such as learning a new programming language or woodworking technique, I’ll hunt out more content on the topic and add some high level todo items for the order I might want to approach things.

Like I said last week, just start doing the work and learn on the way.