I’ve written about making a big change in my note taking strategy – going from taking my reading notes by hand to writing them on the computer. This has the advantage of my being able to actually read them. Plus, the actual notetaking is quicker and, to me, more enjoyable.
However to get the full benefit of taking notes on the computer you need the typing skills to make it efficient and worth your while. For me I type very fast though that doesn’t mean that I type well. if I had to describe myself typing the image of a crack monkey comes to mind – frenetic bursts of energy followed by long series of corrections. I also call it the Soviet style of typing, two steps forward one step back.
The point is clear. I need to invest some time in improving my typing skills so that i don’t have to look at the page every half second so as to not lose track of where I am in the book. In other words I need to learn how to touch type.
Fortunately, there are several free programs for just that purpose. Since I hardly ever use windows and I don’t use a Mac I don’t have any recommendations for them. If you happen to use Linux though, I would sugggest you take a look at Klavaro. It’s simple, easy to use, does a good job, and best of all, it is free of charge. You can read about it here, here and here.
I hope this post will help convince you to boost your typing chops if needed. Typing better means faster notetaking with less mistakes which can only help you when you sit down to do your research.
So far I have covered why I chose to take reading notes on the computer and the need to improve my tying skills to make the process efficient. In future blogposts I am going to cover what I do with those notes plus how I am dealing with computer distractions once i sit down to work. Stay tuned.