Jump Notes also provide a foothold for improving the quality of your thinking. This is especially true when reading material that sits close to our intellectual limits.
Questions require us to apply our knowledge, which we can't do unless we've understood what we're reading.
In a nutshell, our efficient reading strategy when researching a topic is T-shaped:
You start with breadth (the arms of the T): understand the big picture by skimming the literature.
You then move onto depth (the stem of the T): dive into the most promising and relevant details to push your understanding and thinking further.
Finding the richest rabbit holes. As you read, alternate between breadth and depth. By thinking fast and then slow, you'll be able to invest your time more efficiently.
There are two techniques we recommend: Jump Notes and HQ&A Notes. The first is best for smashing and grabbing (breadth) and the second is best for returning to the scene of the crime (depth).
You can think of smashing and grabbing as times when you need to think fast. Returning to the scene of the crime is when you need to think slow. When thinking fast, you want breadth; when thinking slow, you want depth.
When is it not worth taking notes? When you’re reading for fun. When you want to get lost in the moment, switch off, and forget that our brains can act like sieves.
When reading, each component of the HQ&A note serves to improve your memory, focus and understanding, which is why it's great for depth: Highlight = The original context for your reference. Question = An application of the new information to form an insight. Answer = A compressed version of the highlight's insight expressed in your own words.
Starting with Jump Notes (breadth) will give you a big picture view of what you’re reading, letting you move thoughtfully through a text without ruining your momentum. When you hit a natural pause, such as at the end of a section, you can then review your Jump Notes and decide if investing more time developing some of the ideas you've captured will be worthwhile. If so, then that's when you would change over to HQ&A Notes (depth). After all, it's hard to see the forest when your nose is kissing the trees.
Avoid the pitfall of taking deep notes on everything. Instead adopt the breadth and depth approach, our T-shaped strategy for reading around a topic.
For broad note-taking, we recommend Jump Notes; for deep note-taking, we recommend Highlight, Question, and Answer (HQ&A) Notes. Together they'll allow you to think fast or slow depending on the situation.
By laying out the big picture, you'll be able to see the dots that make up an author's argument. These then become footholds for writing more thoughtful HQ&A Notes relative to the ones you might have made otherwise.
By breaking the task up, you'll be able to read with more joy and raise the ceiling on your intellectual limits. You can think of it in the context of the knife and fork metaphor. We pin food down with a fork, so we can carve it up with our knife.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.