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Take Note

So, you have something important to say to a friend or co-worker. You start speaking and notice they are checking their phone or their laptop, looking around the room for something else that might be more worthy of their time.

You feel disrespected and unappreciated. The recipient feels like their time has been wasted, and they fail to benefit from whatever you felt was worth discussing.

Alternatively, think on the times when you’ve got something important to say and the other person, or group, listens attentively and takes notes.

It shows you they care and find enough value in what you’re saying to tune everything else out and actually write down your ideas and concepts so they remember. As the person delivering the information, you feel heard and respected. That’s important.

But the person taking notes benefits the most. Rather than letting good information slip through their fingertips, they have now captured it, to study, contemplate and implement.

I’m a note taker. I have lists and lists of (very organized) notes, on just about every aspect of my life.

Things to Study
Things to Purchase
Home Repairs
Our Dream Home
Gifts Ideas for Ilea (my wife)
Tweets and Blog Ideas
Movies to Watch
Swahili (words and phrases I’m studying)
Writing/Book Ideas
Philmazingness (hilarious things my Irish friend, Phil says)
New Business Ideas
For Our Children (notes of wisdom to pass to our children)
*And lots of notes about each business and consulting venture

And those are just a few of the notes I have going. I keep them updated daily. When I sit for a meeting, I have my iPhone out taking notes (not checking email). When I have a random thought during the day, I take a note so I don’t forget.

After all these years of note taking, I can’t imagine how many ideas and lessons would have been missed out on if I hadn’t been deliberate and disciplined about taking notes. I’m a busy guy. Without the notes, so much gets lost along the way.

I take notes because I care enough to do so. I’m a “carpe diem” guy. I want to get the most out of life, and give the most back. In order to do that, I am constantly looking at ways to be the best me I can be; to operate at my fullest potential. Taking notes is certainly at the top end of the list.

Try it for a week. See where it gets you. See how much more you get accomplished and how much more in tune you are with the world around you. It’s a discipline, and a choice, just like anything else. But it’s a pretty easy one considering the payoff.

* I use Evernote and have found it to be my favorite note program, especially with a Mac and iPhone. 



  1. Kevin Miller on September 14, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Absolutely. I was blessed to be in contact with a guy many years ago. He was a fairly high profile speaker. He ALWAYS had a journal in hand and whenever ANYONE talked to him, he was taking notes. It made everyone feel so honored, and he would often in his talks, recount word for word something from a recent conversation with someone.

    I also realized how little I ever remembered, even when I wanted to, from conversations. So…from that point on, I rarely ever show up anywhere without journal in hand. I’ve even been chided about it a bit. But it’s been invaluable to my life and relationships. I’m often amazed that people listen to presentations and sermons and speeches and have deep conversations with friends…and they never take note. I’ve learned that they do NOT in fact have better memories than I do. They just don’t care as much.

    Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement brother. OH, and my tools are two old school journals, one in my backpack and one in my Bible case, and text documents on my laptop.

    • Jared Angaza on September 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Good stuff brother. I have often noticed your incessant note taking. Though some may chide you for it, I always respect it. To me, it says, “I care enough to pay attention and write down things that inspire or challenge me so I can reflect on them later”. That’s huge. Now that I think of it, I realize now that our whole family takes notes. All of us. I think it has a lot to do with how much we engage the world around us. Good stuff.

  2. Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight on September 14, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Wow, have you been listening in on my mother-nagging???
    This has been a primary topic of conversation with Caleb, for the past 3 or 4 weeks. Poor kid is juggling a TON this fall…with the responsibility of driving on his own, a new job, difficult classes in school, medical frustrations, cross country & tendonitis… And he keeps dropping balls. Mostly cause he is trying to hold everything in his head – instead of writing it down.

    Around here, things are so crazy, I would absolutely lose my mind…if I didn’t have it written down!!!
    Thanks for the most excellent and TIMELY reminder!!

    • Jared Angaza on September 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      Yep. You know I am Captain ADD, so trying to keep everything in my head is next to impossible. I’m totally engaged at the moment, but my memory is fleeting. I’d be totally lost without my notes.

      And Caleb certainly has more to juggle and deal with than most kids his age. Notetaking might be a good habit to start now. I find that it frees me up to be more creative because I’m not always utilizing that energy to try and remember things. It’s all there in my notes.

  3. Kelly Black on September 14, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    I could not agree more Jared! I am an Evernote addict and an avid note taker so I would be lost without it! Thanks for the great examples by the way, there are a couple I am going to have to add to my list! Now if I could only figure out how to take notes while on long bike rides where I get some of my best thinking done! Voice activated Evernote?! 🙂

    • Jared Angaza on September 17, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      I’m with you Kelly! I run on the beach, so it’s difficult to have any technology with me, or even a pen and paper. Between the salt water, sand and sweat, I’ve basically just got to remember everything until I get home. Ilea is used to seeing me run into the house, soaked, and start typing notes on my computer, or spouting it off to her in hopes that she’ll remember.

      I like the voice activated Evernote idea, too. Good stuff!

  4. Shawn Frey on September 30, 2012 at 2:15 PM


    Great post! I recently started using Evernote with the Android for keeping pictures organized. I travel all over the Midwest for work and it’s nice keeping things organized.

    Also, just got Wisdom Meets Passion through Audible last week and finished it yesterday. Awesome work!

    I’ve got a question for you, how do you present your consulting services and position your value to someone whom you may never have met before?

    I’d like to start a part-time consulting gig but I’m really having trouble articulating my USP.

    • Jared Angaza on October 2, 2012 at 5:29 AM

      Thanks Shawn. So glad you enjoyed the book.

      Your question is a tough one, just because it differs so much depending on your style and your objective. However, I can tell you what I do personally.

      In short…I don’t go out looking for work. I look for projects that inspire me. That I would do for free. Then I pitch my ideas, share my enthusiasm, show examples of previous work and typically offer to work for free in the beginning, just to show what I’m worth. That’s worked…every time. Every time I’ve been hired. Some of those gigs have lastest years. The key is to find something you’re passionate about. If you’re really passionate, you won’t stop until the job is yours, or you determine it wasn’t what you thought it was and you find peace in moving on. You use it as a lesson instead. Either way, you gain wisdom and experience.

      Hope that helps, and Godspeed on your journey!

      • Shawn Frey on October 4, 2012 at 11:23 PM


        Great advice! After reading your suggestion, I called a local food retailer that I would love to work with. I’ve always been a fan of theirs and really believe I could help them on project basis. When I called, I told them I had a unique idea I would like to discuss and that it would only take about 10 minutes of their time. They invited me to stop by the store tomorrow to share the idea.

        Thanks so much for the tip and I will keep you posted…

        • Shawn Frey on March 2, 2013 at 4:30 AM

          Hi Jared,

          Great connecting with you on Linkedin. Wanted to let you know that I took your advice into the traditional job market and decided to accept a brand new position in the same industry. This new company is growing, passionate and pregnant with opportunity!

          I feel very fortunate to have found them when I did. I Will keep you posted on the new position in 6 months or so and let you know how it is going.

          Thanks so much for your inspiration.

          Shawn Frey
          Douds, IA

          • Jared Angaza on March 4, 2013 at 8:30 AM

            Excellent Shawn! Godspeed on your new endeavors.

      • Shawn Frey on May 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM


        Just a quick note to let you know the new job is going well. Should be receiving a fat commission check in June. In addition my wife took your advice and just landed a brand new position that is perfect for her.

        Hope you have a great summer.


        • Jared Angaza on May 26, 2013 at 7:45 AM

          That’s excellent Shawn! So glad to hear that. Godspeed to you and your wife on your new adventures!

  5. Pavel on November 11, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Hi Jared,
    I like your post, I have also taken a lots of notes but my problem is that I hardly ever go back and review them. Do you end up actually reviewing your notes?

    • Jared Angaza on November 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      Pavel, I used to make tons of lists and then never do anything with them. I got into a habit of feeling as if I’d accomplished the goal just by writing a big list. However, after a while, I got dug in and got the hang of it. It’s just something you have to discipline yourself to do. Like anything else, it can be challenging, but you just keep pushing. Then it becomes a habit and you sort of go on autopilot, as if you always worked from your notes. Now I can’t imagine not having my notes. It’s like having a personal assistant. But cheaper. And less to manage. Godspeed!

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