Why Take Notes: 3 Common Misconceptions And How To Do It Right

No, retaining shouldn’t be the goal of note-taking.

Hause Lin
The Startup
Published in
5 min readAug 10, 2020
Zettelkasten note-taking. How to take notes.
The prolific scholar, Niklas Luhmann, used index cards for his now famous Zettelkasten note-taking system. Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

Have you ever asked yourself what’s the point of taking notes? If you think it’s to remember, read on, because it’s a common misconception.

Like many things in life, taking notes has become so customary and ingrained in our routines that we’ve stopped reflecting on why we do so.

It’s surprising how little time we spend thinking about why we take notes, when developers regularly create new apps that aim to improve how we take notes. If you’re interested in the how, check out my post below:

Knowing why we’re doing something often provides insights into how we should do it. Reflecting on why I take notes have changed how I take notes — I use Obsidian as my note-taking app because it helps me take modular notes and develop and connect ideas easily.

Three common note-taking misconceptions

Why take notes? Wrong answers and beliefs.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

We forget our notes and ideas unless we review them regularly. But often do we actually revisit our old notes? If we forget our notes and ideas eventually, why bother taking and organizing notes in the first place?

Misconception 1

We take notes to retain.

No doubt we take notes because we want to capture ideas that are important and relevant, so we don’t forget them and can refer to them in the future.



Hause Lin
The Startup

researcher | like to learn, think, discuss ideas, combine data & behavioral science, classical music | | linkedin: