Note Taking Training Course : How to Take Notes & Triple Your Learning Skills | Moses Lewis | Skillshare

Note Taking Training Course : How to Take Notes & Triple Your Learning Skills

Moses Lewis, Award Winning Memory,Productivity Expert

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27 Lessons (47m) View My Notes
    • 1. Welcome

      0:37
    • 2. Using the exercise files

      0:29
    • 3. Using the challenges

      0:42
    • 4. Exploring the keys to active listening

      1:46
    • 5. Focusing on ideas instead of sentences

      1:42
    • 6. Capturing the action plan in your meeting minutes

      2:43
    • 7. The Cornell note taking system

      1:58
    • 8. Brainstorming and collecting ideas

      3:39
    • 9. Avoiding excessive highlighting and too many notes

      2:17
    • 10. Taking more effective notes while reading

      3:28
    • 11. Mind mapping while reading

      2:04
    • 12. The read and recall method

      2:15
    • 13. Challenge Read and recall

      0:52
    • 14. Solution Read and recall

      2:32
    • 15. Bonus Installing the XMind software application

      0:19
    • 16. Creating a to do list

      3:26
    • 17. Developing a plan

      1:48
    • 18. Developing a multiproject plan

      1:32
    • 19. Designing a chart

      1:32
    • 20. Organizing your notes

      1:36
    • 21. Walking through a SWOT analysis

      1:36
    • 22. Using timelines to create a yearly plan

      1:37
    • 23. Making a decision

      1:22
    • 24. Organizing your travel plans

      1:47
    • 25. Challenge Create your to do list

      0:30
    • 26. Solution Create your to do list

      2:04
    • 27. Next Steps

      0:30
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About This Class

Learn to take better and faster notes. Effective note-taking is a core skill that professionals at all levels can improve upon—and this course shows you how. It explains how to decide when to take linear vs. visual notes, how to effectively listen, how to document action plans, and how to effectively write meeting minutes.

Instructor Moses also explores techniques for taking notes more quickly, including capturing ideas rather than sentences, improving typing speed, and using simple shorthand.

The final, bonus chapter walks through a number of note-taking templates from XMind software that help with project planning, SWOT meetings, timelines, and more. This chapter is optional and is not necessary for course completion.

Topics include:

  • Exploring the keys to active listening
  • Focusing on the ideas
  • Capturing an action plan
  • Brainstorming
  • Taking notes while reading
  • Creating to-do lists, project plans, and meeting notes

Transcripts

1. Welcome: Welcome to note-taking. In this course, you're going to learn a variety of note-taking approaches for situations you may encounter. We'll talk about how to take notes during a meeting and how to create action plans. You'll also learn techniques for brainstorming so you can effectively get your ideas from your head onto the page and into action. Next, we'll discuss how you can effectively take notes while reading. And toward the end of the course, you'll be provided with a variety of notetaking templates. So you can choose the one that's most effective for the situation at hand. Learning these note-taking strategies will help you save time, improve your memory, and also make you much more productive at work. So let's go ahead and get started. 2. Using the exercise files: Just download the zip file to your desktop and unpack it. Like I've done here. Not all of the videos in this course use exercise files, but when they do, I'll let you know and remind you to grab a particular file. The goal of this exercise files or to help you apply what you're learning in this course. Finally, note that all the x mine files are for the final chapter. You'll need to download the free version of the X-men program before you can use these files, I'll show you how to do this later. 3. Using the challenges: As you move through this course, you'll occasionally come across a challenge exercise. These challenges are meant to help you immediately apply what you learned. Most of the challenges are fairly quick to complete. It won't take more than ten minutes of your time. In fact, most of the challenges can be done in around five minutes. I'd highly recommend you complete these challenges since they'll help solidify the information you just learned. Every challenge video is followed by a solution where I'll go over an example of how you could have completed the exercise. This is a great way to get some hands-on practice experience. As you've probably heard, practice makes perfect. And these practice challenges will help you master the note-taking strategies you'll be learning. 4. Exploring the keys to active listening: One of the keys to taking good notes is to become a good listener. This video will teach you how to become an active listener during a meeting. This could be a group meeting where you are the participant or leader, or this can apply to one on one meetings as well. Listening is not a passive skill. It takes effort to actively listen. You've probably experienced passive listening before. Have you ever spaced out while you're in school or when someone was talking to you. That's passive listening. You're hearing the words but you're not really understanding much. Active listening requires focus. So you first need to make sure that you tried to eliminate distractions. That may include turning off your phone or getting rid of your laptop if you absolutely don't need during the meeting. And I'm not just talking about putting your phone on vibrate because even that can distract you from actively listening. I've heard of some companies that are even collect cell phones at the door before the meeting starts just insure people don't get distracted. Getting rid of distractions will help you listen with more focus. Active listening also requires the right kind of body language. Leaning in, nodding at the appropriate moments, and maintaining eye contact are all great ways to stay attentive. Another key to listening is paraphrasing and repeating back what you heard. Or to ask questions that clarify what's being discussed. While you're listening. You also want to be on the lookout for main points that are being discussed. Listen for statements like the thing to remember is, or phrases like my point is, these phrases should trigger you to pay more attention so you can listen more effectively. And of course, always try to let the person who's talking finish rather than interrupting them. This is not just common courtesy, but it also ensures that you're fully listening to them before making points of your own. So if you keep these techniques in mind, you'll become a more active listener and therefore a more effective note-taker. 5. Focusing on ideas instead of sentences: In this video, we're going to discuss how you can learn to take notes faster and more efficiently. The first thing you need to understand is that you should keep your notes concise. You want to be writing ideas, not sentences. This is a simple way to speed up your note-taking, but it's surprising how many people ignore this advice and try to write complete sentences while they're taking notes. If you do this, you may end up missing major points that are being stated because you're trying to write out what was previously set. So keep your notes to key words and phrases you can right now and edit later. Another important strategy is to only write down what's absolutely necessary. Not everything is equally important. Many times there are 23 or four major points being made. Don't get bogged down with the detail. If you're paying attention, you'll remember the details because the bigger concepts will trigger that information. If you want to add some of your own detail under a major point, but don't have time to at the moment. Just leave a little space there so you can add it later. Another way to be concise with your notes is to use abbreviations whenever possible. You'll know what they stand for because you wrote them. For example, the word university could simply be abbreviated to you an IV, or the word government can be shortened to geo VT. Get used to writing an abbreviated form if you want to speed up your notetaking by abbreviating and using symbols. You're essentially developing your own customized shorthand, which is a process of taking notes quickly. Take some getting used to. But once you've decided on certain abbreviations and visuals, it can drastically speed up your note-taking. Also, don't get hung up on grammar. It will slow you down and distract you from understanding the information you need to know. 6. Capturing the action plan in your meeting minutes: Every good meeting should end with an action plan. Otherwise, what's the point of the next meeting? So it's important that this action plan be reflected in the summary of your meeting minutes. In fact, some organizations require that meeting minutes include the sort of summary. Meeting minutes serve as a record of decisions that were made, what actions should be taken, and who must take them in when important meetings are held every day. And the decisions made at these meetings can involve millions of dollars. And this is why the role of minute takers so important. Meeting minutes drive action by providing a plan for you and your team. The minute show how decisions were made, who made the decisions, and when. Mapping out an action plan in the meeting minutes, you help ensure the work gets done. And the minutes can also provide an update to those who were unable to attend the meeting. Because the meeting minutes record important decisions. They serve as a great way to measure progress. You can use them as an accountability tool to make sure progress is being made. Now, don't worry, meeting minutes don't have to be long and extremely detailed. Sum can be short. And to the point based on the nature of the meeting. Your meeting minutes can consist of a simple list of decisions made, actions that need to take place along with who's responsible for each action. And you can include dates for each action if they're time-sensitive. Here's an example of a meeting minutes document. A copy is available in the Exercise Files folder. Now there is no strict format for the layout of meeting minutes, but this exercise file, we'll give you a good idea of the general structure. First, you'll notice at the top, you'll take note of the company name and department. The next areas S4, committee name, date of the meeting, the location, and who's preparing the minutes. Next? We have the purpose of the meeting. And who was in attendance. Box three is for the meeting agenda. If you're organizing the meeting, you can fill in this box before the meeting starts. If you're simply taking notes in a meeting, you can ask the meeting organizer to clarify the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. And this fourth box will probably be the largest in terms of total information. Here you add your meeting notes, decisions that were made and issues that arose. Finally, we have the action items and box number five. For each item, be sure to indicate who's responsible for getting it done and the due date. Lastly, if a follow-up meeting is necessary, it can be added in box number six. As you can see in this one page template, meeting minutes are fairly straight forward. The ideas to make sure you complete all of those sections, ideally before the meeting is over and everyone leaves. Feel free to utilize this template for your own use and customize it to fit the work that you do. 7. The Cornell note taking system: Taking notes quickly can be a challenge, especially when lots of detailed information is being rapidly presented during a meeting with multiple people. If you need to keep up with all this information, you may want to consider taking notes using the Cornell system. The Cornell system helps you organize your notes into two major columns using a standard 8.5 by 11 inch page. Start by drawing a horizontal line, about four to six lines from the bottom of your page. If your paper doesn't have any lines, draw this horizontal line about two to three inches from the bottom. Then draw a vertical line about two inches from the left side of your page. The left column will be the area where you review your main points. On the right side column, which is larger, you'll add more of your detailed notes. The bottom part of your page will be where you summarize the information as an action plan. On the top right-hand side of the page, you want to add the subject matter of these notes. And again, you'll be adding all your detailed notes in the right-hand column of your page. Be sure to keep your notes concise. You don't have to use complete sentences and whenever possible, use your own shorthand that you can understand. Abbreviated information so you can keep up with the information. And don't forget to skip a line between ideas. Once you're done writing your notes, be sure to review them at the main ideas and the most important points on the left-hand side of the column. At the very bottom of your page, summarize the most important information as an action plan. Once you're done, you may want to review your notes periodically so you can keep the information fresh in your head. Your first review of notes should occur within 24 hours. After that, the amount of times you review is up to you. And based on how well you need to know the information, you can boost your long-term recall of the information by 20 to 70%. If you review your notes within 24 to 48 hours, and then several times a week thereafter. The more times you review your notes, the better you'll remember the information. 8. Brainstorming and collecting ideas: In this video, we're going to discuss how you can use the results of brainstorming as an alternative way to efficiently capture notes. Brainstorming can be done individually or with a group, and it involves an informal approach to solving problems. It's really a creativity technique that requires you or a group of people to create a list of spontaneous ideas. There are four major guidelines for effective brainstorming. One is to withhold judgment of other people's ideas. This encourages everyone to contribute and to think more creatively. And because the ideas are spontaneous and sometimes just random, it usually makes brainstorming a pretty fun exercise. The second major guideline for brainstorming is to focus on quantity. The more ideas that are generated, the more likely we'll be able to solve the problems at hand. The third guideline to effective brainstorming is that strange ideas should be welcomed and encouraged. These ideas can be created by looking at things from a new perspective or making different assumptions. And the fourth and final guideline is to combine and improve ideas. This can happen during the brainstorming process or afterward. If you're brainstorming with a group, you need to designate someone as the note-taker. They need to quickly and efficiently jot down all the ideas as they're being stated. As we mentioned before, use abbreviations and symbols to speed up this process. You want to make sure you capture everything. If you're doing this on your own, you still want to take notes quickly so you can keep up with your own thoughts. Sometimes ideas fly in and out of our head, so we need to capture them the moment they come along. If you're working with a group to brainstorm, here's a nice variation that you might find helpful. Everyone in the group sits in a circle and each person has to write down one idea on a sheet of paper. Each person then passes their idea along to the next person who elaborates on the idea, adding some more thoughts of their own. This continues until everyone gets their original idea back. At this point, the group will have effectively elaborated on each and every idea. Those ideas can then be submitted to the group leader for analysis. Brainstorming in this manner is an effective way to harness the collective intelligence of the group. And it's also a great way to generate a lot of ideas in a very short period of time. You can also brainstorm individually through a number of techniques. One such brainstorming technique is called free writing, which involves continuously writing for a set period of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, or even topic. This technique produces raw content which is often unusable, but it has been shown to help writers overcome self-criticism and writers block. The technique can be used to generate initial ideas on the topic and is a very rough draft before formal writing. This is very different from typical brainstorming and that it doesn't produce a list of ideas, but instead a stream of thoughts in paragraph format. The same brainstorming approach with free writing can be done with free talking. The difference being that you just continuously talk. That downside here being that you aren't writing anything down, but you can always record yourself if you prefer this method. And one of the most useful brainstorming techniques involves the creation of something called a mindmap, which is a visual note-taking technique that helps people organize their thoughts. Mind maps can be used in a variety of ways, but they usually consists of a central idea with surrounding topics and sub-topics. This mind-map is about insurance and has topics that include property, travel, liability, life, health. You can also see the subtopics under property that include vehicle and home. A mind map gives you a nice bird's eye view of the information. So you can see how it's structured. Later in this course, we'll talk about how to use mind maps for specific situations. 9. Avoiding excessive highlighting and too many notes: In this video, we're going to discuss note-taking while reading and the potential dangers of excessive highlighting and too many notes. Have you ever bought a used college textbook and notice ridiculous amounts of highlighting, how does this happen? Here's how someone's reading the chapter and maybe they need to know it very well for a test that's coming up, he read a sentence and realize that's really important. So they highlight it. Then they read the next sentence and realized that's also kind of important, and they highlight that as well. Then they read the third sentence and now they realize this sentence is way more important than the previous two. Maybe they'll use a different color this time around. You already see where this is going. Have you ever heard the phrase when you get caught up in details, you lose sight of the big picture is one of the biggest issues when it comes to note taking people get caught up in details. A better way to handle this would be the finished reading the paragraph and then decide what you want to highlight or take notes on. And keep in mind you don't have to write out full sentences. You could highlight just a word or a short phrase, and that would remind you of what the section was about. For example, when I say the word Katrina, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? For many people, the word katrina might remind them of a hurricane. Rather than highlighting an entire sentence that discusses Hurricane Katrina and its effects on the city of New Orleans. You might instead just highlight or take note of the word Katrina. And that would be enough to remind you of the details. If you focus on noting just a word or a short phrase, you'll be much more effective with your note-taking. So again, make sure you finish a paragraph at the very least before taking your notes. If you still feel like you're spending too much time taking notes, you may even want to finish reading a section of text before taking notes. Notetaking is without a doubt helpful, but if you spent too much time with your notes, it could make you less effective. If you're wondering how much time should be spent on notes, follow the 80-20 rule. 80% of your time should be spent reading, while no more than 20% should be spent taking notes. So if you're reading for 60 minutes, this would translate into 12 minutes of notes and 48 minutes of reading. It doesn't have to be exact. But if you're spending more than 12 minutes of every hour on notes, you're probably spending too much time. So try to follow these guidelines and you'll improve your note-taking abilities while reading. 10. Taking more effective notes while reading: In this video, we're going to discuss an effective process for taking notes while reading business oriented documents. This three-step process will help you read more efficiently by first getting you familiar with the material. This reading strategy is called the multiple reading process. The first step in the process is called the preview. During the step you simply read the introduction and conclusion to the information you're reading. If you're reading a short article, this could simply be the first and last paragraph. If you're reading something longer, like a book chapter or detailed blog post, this could be a few paragraphs at the beginning and a few at the end. Keep in mind that the introduction and conclusion might be labeled as objectives or summary. Once you're done with this step, you're now ready to take some basic notes based on what you just read. Write down the first things that come to mind. What was most memorable. What is the main point of what you're reading? Keep your notes concise. Just a word or short phrase should be enough to remind you of the concept. And don't worry, if you don't have tons of things to write down. You've only read the introduction and conclusion. So your note should initially be pretty basic. Now we move on to step number two in the process, the overview. In this step you'll want to read the headings, subheadings and bold-faced words. Or if you don't have headings, just read the first sentence of each paragraph. Since first sentences tend to be main ideas. Once you're done with this, take some more notes. At this point, you'll be taking note of the big ideas that were present in the text. Rather than just copying each of the headings, I'd suggest initially writing things down off the top of your head. This is much better for your memory because you're forcing yourself to try and recall the information rather than just mindlessly copying headings. Once you run out of things to write down off the top of your head, then you'll want to flip through the material to see if there's anything else you'd like to add to your notes. And as usual, keep your notes concise. As soon as you're done with your notes, you're on step number three, which is simply read, read the rest of the material. Before you start reading. Think about how these first two steps have helped. You've already previewed and overviewed the information. So you know what to expect. You'll now be able to read the information a little more quickly than if you didn't do these steps. And you'll also be able to comprehend the information more easily because you know what to expect. But most importantly, your retention of the material will be better because you've had to exposures to the material during the preview and overview, and you've taken notes on both occasions. What you remember is largely a function of repetition. And before even reading the material, you've had four repetitions of the information. One repetition was from the preview. Repetition number two was from the notes based on that preview. Repetition number three was based on the overview. And repetition number four was from the notes of your overview. With this process, you should read more confidently. Why? Because you know what to expect. Even if the information is very technical, you've made the process easier by getting familiar with the information before you start reading the nitty-gritty details. As you read through your text. Take notes here and there as you come across essential information. As we discussed earlier, make sure you aren't taking notes excessively. And be sure to keep your notes concise so you can keep making progress through the material. If you approach the material in this kind of manner, I think you'll find that your memory of the material's much stronger because you've taken notes at strategic points during the reading process. 11. Mind mapping while reading: In this video, we're going to discuss an effective process for taking notes while reading. Have you ever taken notes that ended up looking something like a jumbled up mess? It's very difficult to review notes like this. How do you find specific pieces of information? The notes you see on your screen right now are linear bass notes. Outlines are also very linear and that they assume Roman numeral number two comes after Roman numeral number one. These notes are most appropriate for information that runs in a specific sequence, like history, or for instructional information that may contain a step one, step two, and so on. But for many other topics, the information, it's nonlinear, meaning it doesn't have to be in a set specific order. The topics of business, law, physics, medicine are all nonlinear and that you don't have to follow one specific order to understand them. They might be presented in a certain order, but for you to understand the information, you don't need to remember it in a set order. You just need to know that all of the concepts and details are associated with a single topic. A great way to organize non-linear information is to take notes visually. Mindmaps are great example of this. Mindmaps consists of a central idea in the middle. If you were taking notes while reading, this might be the title of your chapter with nodes extending from that central idea. They're surrounding boxes or bubbles could be headings and subheadings within your chapter or main points from the material you were reading. Mind maps can include color and other visuals to help you remember even more effectively. It's kind of like having a bird's eye view of the information. And later if you need to review the information, it's very easy to see the structure in detail and also how the information is associated. The reason why mindmaps are so effective at helping you remember things is because they reflect the way your mind really works. So just make sure that your note-taking reflects the way in which the information is structured, regardless of how you end up taking notes, The most important thing to remember is that no taking aids your memory. And if you really need to remember what you're reading, you probably should be taking notes in a manner that you feel is most appropriate. 12. The read and recall method: Have you ever read a whole page of text and then wondered, I have no clue what I just read. In this video, I'll go over a simple exercise you can practice. So this doesn't happen as often. It's called the read and recall method. And it will help you remember more of what you read. Here's how it works. You read a paragraph and then take a quick note of what you just read. And then you simply repeat this process. Read a paragraph, taken note, read another paragraph, take another note. These notes should be quick. Just write a word or phrase that describes some of the content in that paragraph. Why are we doing this? The ideas to get you into the mindset of constantly asking yourself, what did I just read? If you force yourself to take a quick note after every paragraph you read, you'll find yourself paying more attention to the material. And with practice, you'll improve your ability to retain the information. Now I'm not suggesting that you need to take notes after every paragraph you read for the rest of your life. This is simply an exercise you can practice to improve your recall abilities. If you feel like you have a lot of trouble remembering what you read. I'd suggest practicing this 15 minutes a day for a week. If you want to strengthen your recall abilities with practice, you'll find it easier to remember what you're reading because you'll be in the habit of constantly thinking, what did I just read? Part of the reason why we forget information is because sometimes we weren't paying attention to begin with. The region we call method helps you pay attention because it forces you to take notes after every paragraph. If I know I need to write something down, then I'm more likely to pay attention while I'm reading. It's a simple but effective exercise for improving your retention. And here's a little variation of this method that you could apply to courses here on Lynda.com. Instead of the read and recall method, let's call it the watch and recall method. You may have noticed the My Notes tab within Lynda.com courses. Here you can add notes for any video that you watch. The nice thing about this feature is that it will keep track of the time when you take your notes. So all of the notes during the video will be associated to a specific place where you added them at the end of chapters or when the course is over, I recommend you review the notes that you previously made. So whether it's the reason recall method or the watch and recall method, keep in mind that taking notes will help you better remember the material. 13. Challenge Read and recall: In this video, you're going to implement the read and recall method as a challenge exercise. Here's what you need to do. Step one is to download the exercise file. Step two is to read this one-page article using the ribbon recall method. If you're working on printed paper, you can write each note next to the adjacent paragraph. If you're reading from the computer screen, jot those notes on a separate sheet of paper or on your computer. Your note should be concise. Keep each note to just one word or a short phrase to describe what the paragraph is about. So just read each paragraph, taken note and repeat until you finish the article. Because the article is only one page, this should probably take you less than five minutes to complete this exercise. When you're done, check out the next video which shows my solution to this exercise. 14. Solution Read and recall: So how did you do on the reason recall challenge? Let's go over my solution to this exercise. So here's the article we had. After reading this first paragraph. I'd sum it up with the words, information and distractions. You may have had something different and that's okay. To add a note, I am using the Preview application on a Mac. I'm going to click on this button right here. And then I am going to click on the T for text. And that'll add some text to the document, which I can click and drag over here. And again, I'm going to sum this up as information and distractions. Then I'd continue reading the next paragraph. And after finishing it, I'd write digital distractions because they mentioned a variety of them in that paragraph. After reading the third paragraph, I'd write external distractions. Notice how these notes are very concise. I know what's being referred to when I write them. On the next paragraph, I'd read it. And then I'd write attention because they seem to be covering the topic of attention. And after reading the next paragraph, I'd noted as information overload. By the way, if you encounter a short paragraph that's just one or two sentences, you can skip it. Be sure to take notes after each of the longer paragraphs. Finally, after reading the last paragraph, I'd sum it up as impact on our lives. Again, notice how these notes are usually just quick, concise summaries of each paragraph. Again, the goal of this exercise is just to get you into the frame of mind in which you're always thinking, what did I just read? This exercise can help you improve your recall abilities. So if you have trouble remembering what you read, try practicing this sort of exercise 15 minutes a day for a week. And you'll gradually notice improvement in your memory. 15. Bonus Installing the XMind software application: To download the software first, I'll navigate to x mine.net and I'll click on download from the screen, just click the green Download button. Once you download this package to your computer, install it, and you should be all set to use the exercise files in this chapter. 16. Creating a to do list: In this video, you're going to learn how to create a to-do list using the X-Men software platform. If you haven't installed x my jet. Check out the first video of this chapter. Let's talk about to-do lists. You might love them or hate them, but everyone seems to have won. A to-do lists can make you feel overwhelmed or it could be your key to productivity during the day. The exercise file included with this lesson provides you with a to-do list template that you can modify cheer liking. You'll notice right away that there are currently four tasks. You can easily change these tasks by double-clicking on them. You'll also notice the green icon next to each task. This can signified that a task has been completed or partially completed. If you click on the green icon, you'll see that you can easily change the progress of a task from starting to half done all the way through task done. You'll notice that if you change it to task done, a green checkmark will show up. This feature makes it very easy to keep track of your progress for a variety of tasks. So how do we go about adding new tasks? Just click on the central node that reads to-do list. And then under the Insert menu, click topic. As you can see, this will add another task to your to-do list. Another way to add a task which is probably a lot faster, would be to simply press the enter button on your keyboard. And if you need to delete something from your list, just press the delete or backspace button on your keyboard. And as we mentioned before, you can edit your tasks by simply double-clicking on the text. And you can rearrange tasks by clicking and dragging them to different positions on your screen. Sometimes you may have a test that has numerous subtasks related to it. If that's the case, just click on the tasks you want to modify and insert a subtask. You can add as many subtasks as you like. Now let's think about the things we need to do another way. So let's start with a fresh to-do list. I'm going to delete the current tasks. Again. I'm just pressing the Delete key on my keyboard to do this. Sometimes the things we need to do are related to various parts of our life. For example, you might have tasks that you need to get done at work. Other tasks that need to get done at home. And if you're a student, you may have tasks related to school. So notice how you can easily add these general areas and their related tasks. This gives you almost a bird's eye view of things that need to get done in your life. There are a variety of ICANN markers that you can add to each task. You can find these markers in the Insert menu or by simply clicking the red icon that looks like a flag in the programs tray. You'll see that this allows you to add a variety of markers to any of the tasks. For example, you might want to assign a task priority, task progress, flags, stars, arrows, among many other things. Or if there's a specific due date associated with the task, you can use the month or the day of the week icon. And if you're using these icons a lot, you may want to click on the More menu and then we'll add it to the side of your screen. There are many other features in this program that you may want to explore on your own. But as you can see in this template, you can utilize this program to visually organize the tasks that need to get done. 17. Developing a plan: In this video, you're going to learn how to create a project plan using the X-Men software platform. If you haven't installed X mind yet. Check out the first video of this chapter. Let's talk about project plans. In the last lesson, we discussed a to-do list which can be helpful for an individual. But what if you're working on a large project? You'll need a project plan that lists background information, who's involved, what the schedule is, and what's been completed, among other things, this project plan, which you can find in the exercise files, is a useful template you can use in your planning process. Take a look at the top right where it says information. Here you can list the project manager, team members, description of the project, and other background information. Right below that you can click on goals and add things that need to be accomplished by pressing the tab button on your keyboard. Another important part of projects includes requirements such as budget, people, and assets. And of course, most plans don't work well unless they have a schedule. In the schedule area, you can break out your projects into phases, include your most important priorities and also milestones that need to be achieved. On the bottom-left under actual progress, you can list tests that have been done, tests that have been canceled or delayed, or tasks that are on hold or in progress. On the top left you'll see an area labeled risk. Here you might list some potential problems that may arise along with the probability of these risks happening and possible solutions. Keep in mind that this is just a template and you can easily modify it using the free x mine software. If you're working on a project plan, go ahead and download the exercise file and use it to guide your work. 18. Developing a multiproject plan: In this video, you're going to learn how to create a multiproduct plan using the X-Men software platform. In the last video, we went over a template for a project plan. Well, what if you're managing multiple projects? You can use this multiproduct plan to keep yourself organized. Let's take a look at the exercise file included in this lesson. Notice how the projects are listed in the first column on the left. You can have the purpose of the project in the second column. In other words, why are we doing this project? In the third column, you can add the project's objectives. And then the next column you can list the name of the person that is leading this project. The brainstorming column can be a helpful area to provide any ideas related to the project. And of course, the progress column tells you how far along you are. In the next column, you'll see the next actions area. These are your highest priority actions. And you can see the lowest priority actions or in the next column. Finally, our last column will show any related documents. You can simply drag and drop files here that are related to the project. And if you need to add additional projects, just click all projects on the top, then click on the Insert menu and select topic. You can also do this a little faster by pressing the enter button on your keyboard. And if you happen to need more columns, just click the icon next to all projects and it will add another column to your dashboard. Like any other template. Keep in mind that you can modify this to your liking. But use this template as a guide to be more productive with your projects. 19. Designing a chart: In this video, you're going to learn how to create an organization chart using the X-Men software platform. Organization charts give you a nice big picture of how things are structured. Companies use them to show the structure of an organization. If you had to create one, you might find this particular template very useful. Notice where it says org chart at the top. You might want to double-click here and replace the name with the company name or your organization's name. On the next line, you'll notice department a, B, and C. You might replace these with actual department names like marketing, sales, HR, customer service, and so on. On the next line below the departments, you would list the person in charge of that particular department and then any other person that may be reporting to him or her. If you need to add more departments, just click back at the top on the organization's name and press the Enter button on your keyboard. Another thing you can do to replicate this even quicker is to click and copy one of the other departments. Then click on your organization's name at the top and simply paste. Notice how this will paste the entire structure beneath the organization chart. That's definitely something that can help you save a lot of time if you're dealing with a large organization. And since I don't need this topic anymore, I'm just going to delete it. Organization charts give you a nice big picture view of how things are structured. And you can use this template to guide you through creating one of your own. So that's it for organization charts, feel free to use the exercise file for your next org chart. 20. Organizing your notes: In this video, you're going to learn how to organize your meeting notes using the x mine software platform. Let's talk about how you can organize all your meeting notes into a single place where you can manage them more effectively. Notice at the top of this template we have a preparation area. If you click on the small plus sign on the right of that box, you'll notice it expands to include things like background, location, time, purpose, and attendees. And the next box down, we have the agenda where you can list things that need to be discussed. Below that you'll find the ideas area. And if you click on the plus sign here, you can expand it to include ideas that come up during the meeting and who they're attributable to. In the next three boxes below, we have our action items. Every good meeting has actionable tasks. If you expand these areas, you can add the person in charge of the task and other information associated with that task. If you need to add more action items, just copy one of them. Then click meeting management and simply paste. Although we'll paste it at the bottom, you can easily click and drag it into its correct place and make any edits that are necessary. Notice how the copying and pasting preserved the related details associated with the task. Finally, we have a summary box at the bottom. So try using this X mine template next time you're preparing for a meeting. It can help you save time and make your meetings much more productive. 21. Walking through a SWOT analysis: In this video, you're going to learn how to create a swat analysis using the X-Men software platform. What the swat analysis it's a method of planning that's used to evaluate for areas of business or opportunity, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Swot analysis helps you organize your notes under these four areas and can provide you with much greater perspective on your business or a specific opportunity. This template will help guide you through the thought process. First, notice how this template basically has two columns and two rows. These are the helpful and harmful columns. Along with the internal and external rose. Strengths and opportunities are clearly helpful to your organization. Well, weaknesses and threats clearly are not. In the strengths area. You'll want to list characteristics of the business or project team that gives it an advantage over others. And the weakness area. Think about the things that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others. Be sure to list your strengths and weaknesses in order from largest to smallest. And the opportunities box. You'll want to list any external chances to improve performance. For example, this could be opportunities to increase profits or boost productivity within an organization. And lastly, on the bottom right, you'll want to list threats. These are external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project. You may or may not have control over these threats. But it's important to list them here and be sure to prioritize them from biggest threat to smallest. Feel free to tweak this template so that it works for your specific purpose. 22. Using timelines to create a yearly plan: In this video, you're going to learn how to create a timeline for a yearly marketing plan. Using the software platform. Timelines can help you take note of information in chronological order. And this template will help you easily and visually create a timeline for a yearly marketing plan. Now, as you can see here, this particular timeline is organized by quarter. Under Q1, you'll see the months January, February, and March. And if you click on the plus sign next to the month of January, you'll notice it will expand and you can add whatever details you want in this area. For example, you might add three marketing initiatives that need to get done in January. For the other months, you can easily add the subtopics by clicking on the month and pressing the tab button on your keyboard. But what if you wanted to organize it by month instead of quarter? You can easily do so by double-clicking on the text and renaming. And since I'm now organizing it by month instead of quarter, I can modify all these other areas to reflect the new timeline. And if you're now organizing it by month, we'll need to add a few more months to the timeline. To do that, just click on the marketing plan and press enter and then rename it to the next month. As you've probably already noticed, this particular template has a fishbone like structure to represent the timeline. And you can use this template to organize your own chronological information in a very visual way. 23. Making a decision: In this video, you're going to learn how to organize your notes to help you make a decision using the X-Men software platform. Organizing your decision options with this template will give you a nice bird's eye view and could help you make better decisions more quickly. Now some decisions are very straightforward and don't require much mental work. But other decisions can be complex where you have to weigh various options and look at the pros and cons of each potential decision. In this template, you can organize your choices in analyze the pros and cons of each option. To start, you might want to rename the top part where it says make a decision, give it a name that reflects the decision you're making. Below that, you'll find three potential solutions. If you want, you can rename these to something like option a, option B, and option C, or whatever names work best for you. And below each of those options you'll have pros and cons laid out. These are pretty self-explanatory. Just list the pros and cons of each decision. If your decision has more than three options, just click on one of the options and copy it. From there. You want to click on the box at the top and then paste it back in. Notice how the pro and con structure stays exactly the same. This quick shortcut is ideal for decisions that have many options. So try organizing your decision options in this manner so you can see the big picture and make better decisions faster. 24. Organizing your travel plans: In this video, you're going to learn how to organize your business travel plans using the x mine software platform. So let's talk about travel. Sometimes it's good to be spontaneous and not have any specific travel plans. But when you're on a business trip, you may need to organize the trip into a specific travel plan with notes. And that's what this template is for. Let's take a look at it. Notice how it's currently organized into five days. If you're triples longer, you can add another day by clicking on travel plan at the top and then pressing the enter key on your keyboard. Notice how that adds a new row to your travel plan. And if your trip was shorter, you can easily delete a day or two by pressing the delete or backspace button on your keyboard. Let's look at the specifics of how each day is organized. On day one, where it says airline, you can add your flight number, departure times, and any other relevant information. If you're renting a car, you might add that information. Which rental car company is a four. What's the confirmation number and what time should it be picked up? You can also plan out your meals and the next area, adding your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans. And if there's a certain budget that you need to stay within, you might want to add that in the next area. On day two, you might have a number of meetings. One might be in the morning, you might have a few in the afternoon and maybe one in the evening. You can add them all here. But what about when the work day is over? You might have some leisure activities you're interested in doing outside of work on your business trip. You can include those here. You would then continue customizing this template to reflect your business trip. Once you're done, you'll have a nice visual representation of your travel plans and you'll be more organized when you go out of town. 25. Challenge Create your to do list: In this challenge, you're going to create your to-do list using the X-Men software platform. Here are your objectives for the exercise. First, download the exercise files associated with this challenge. Then start modifying the file to create your own to-do-list. Give yourself five to ten minutes to come up with whatever to-do list items come to mind and organize this in any manner that you see fit. When you're done, check out my solution video to see how I did it. 26. Solution Create your to do list: So how did you do on your challenge? We able to create your own to-do list. Here's my solution to the challenge exercise. First, I'm going to delete these tasks here because I want to start with a fresh to-do list and organize it my own way. I'm going to organize my to-do list into two parts. Things that I have to do for work and personal things. Under the work area. I'm going to add Finish Recording course, which is what I'm doing right now. Next, I'm going to add a task to finalize my travel plans for the next couple months. And of course, this task has a number of subtasks associated with it, such as booking flights, hotels, and rental cars. So I'm going to add those as well. Next, I'm going to add a project that's been in the works for a number of months. A company has been finishing a new website and there are still some loose ends that we need to tie up before launching. I'm going to add the task finished new website. And I'll add some subtasks like hosting. Import users, test all links, check pages for typos, and notify all staff. I'll then add my work-related calls that have to be made today. And under my personal tasks, I'm going to add a reminder for myself to replace the bathroom door knob. I'm also going to add schedule an appointment with the dentist. And my friend Pete has a birthday coming up, so I'm going to add get birthday gift for Pete. This particular to-do list solution assumed the tasks would be done within the day, but your to-do list could have been for the week or the month. Feel free to organize your to-do list in a way that works best for you. I hope this challenge exercise helped you get the big picture view of what needs to get done. 27. Next Steps: Congratulations, you've reached the end of the course. So where should you go from here? Taking this course is just one part of the learning process. The other part is to actively apply what you've learned. So I'd suggest downloading and customizing the templates mentioned earlier in this course that are relevant to the work that you do. That's the easiest way to start applying what you've learned. Note-taking aids your memory, so be sure to apply the strategies you learn throughout this course. It'll help you live a more memorable and productive life. Thanks for watching.