I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said just grab a “good old pen and paper” on the podcast. Not only am I a fan of getting things out of my head, but I’m also a fan of writing things down, so I don’t forget them. I love to-do lists, strategizing, and planning and preparing.
As a full-time entrepreneur, I have a store, an online education business with a podcast, group memberships, 1:1 clients, partnerships, team members, and more. This means I tend to have many calls booked weekly and take A LOT of notes.
What is Digital Note Taking?
I spent the past five years using “good old pen and paper” to take notes for everything I did, but I started getting frustrated—not only with the volume of paper but with organizing and finding what I needed.
I would even sometimes take my handwritten notes and type them into Google Docs. Talk about inefficiency! Seriously, the systems and processes gal was failing in this area.
Then, I learned about digital note-taking. I saw an ad for the ReMarkable Tablet and went down the rabbit hole.
I feel like this opened a new world for me. I learned that I could still hold a physical instrument to write, but I could write on a surface that creates digital notes rather than paper.
I was excited about the idea. But while I was down the rabbit hole, I became stuck in indecision about which hardware I would buy to make the switch.
Why I Switched From Paper to Digital
I did eventually make a decision and have NOT looked back. But before I tell you about what hardware I chose, let’s look at the six big reasons I made the switch from paper to digital notes.
Digital note-taking has made a nice difference in my home office and on my desk.
I have a small desk, which means a small surface—and I already have a large computer screen on it. The piles of paper and little notes became SO annoying. I had paper everywhere!
Then, I would need to file all this paper away. I won’t go into detail about why or what, but what’s important to share is that these weren’t minor to-do lists or checklists. It’s vital information that I shouldn’t throw away because there’s a good chance I will want to go back and reference it.
Making the switch to digital has meant less paper on my desk. And it’s much easier to organize my digital notes into notebooks and folders!
I’m far from being the poster child of sustainability. However, I do like to do my part in being green. I even do some things at the Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat to help the earth, such as having reusable lanyards and serving meals on real china with silverware instead of disposable plates and plasticware.
Switching from paper to digital means I use WAY LESS paper, so I’ll check that off as a win in the sustainability column.
As an Apple user, I LOVE when all of my things just show up on each of my devices.
I have a Macbook Pro and an iPhone. And one reason I switched to digital is that I knew I could access and read my digital notes no matter which Apple product I was using.
I no longer have to be frustrated that the notes I took on paper in my office aren’t accessible to me if I’m not at home. I can now see my notes no matter where I’m at because I almost always have my phone on me.
Not everyone uses Apple products, and that’s okay! There are ways to synchronize your digital notes if you’re an Android user, too.
Being able to edit my notes is WAY more helpful than I ever thought it would be.
My brain can be scattered. Actually, this is the case for most entrepreneurs! So when I’m getting things out of my head and onto paper, it isn’t always in the “perfect” order.
The ability to copy and paste AND drag and drop from one page to another is incredible. AND you can turn your handwriting into typewritten text!
Creative Note Taking
Writing your notes digitally is just plain fun! I don’t need a case filled with colored pens or highlighters to make note-taking easier to understand and read.
And can we talk about using stickers, too? Yes, digital stickers. I understand this is not as functional and helpful as copy and paste, but it is fun, especially if you’re a creative at heart.
My notes are searchable! This is revolutionary. I no longer have to struggle to find what I’m looking for.
I can search keywords in all my digital notes, and the results will show me all the notebooks or quick notes where I wrote that particular word out. Amazing, right?
What You’ll Need to Get Started With Digital Note Taking
Some of you might be thinking, “okay, Kathy, TELL ME HOW I CAN DO AND USE THIS!”
So here’s a short list of what I bought to get this rolling in my life…
Digital Note-Taking Need-To-Haves
- iPad 10.2 64 GB, $275
- Apple Pencil 1st Gen Apple Pencil 2nd Gen, $69-129: I got the 1st generation Apple Pencil, but if you have an iPad Pro I recommend getting the 2nd generation as there’s no cap, and it charges magnetically.
- GoodNotes app: the free version allows you to have three workbooks, or you can pay $10.99 for unlimited workbooks.
- Unfortunately, GoodNotes doesn’t work with Android phones or tablets. Based on my research, NoteLedge, Xodo, or Samsung Note might be good alternatives. If you know otherwise, or if you’re an Android user and know of other digital note-taking solutions and apps, please DM me on Instagram and let me know what you use!
If you’re an Android user, you can use a Samsung Tablet, Samsung stylus and an android-friendly note-taking app.
- Cover with pencil holder, $22
- LIKE: Paper Feel Screen Protector, $11: this is a film you place on your iPad screen that gives you the “feeling” of writing on paper. NOTE: this one is okay, but I don’t love it!
- LOVE: Paperlike Screen Protector $49.99: This is a bit of an investment but worth it! This screen protector makes it feel like I’m writing on paper. It’s way better than other versions I’ve tested.
If You’re Drowning in Paper, Make The Switch to Digital
I know from surveys in our groups that at least ⅔ of shopkeepers own an iPad or other tablet. And I don’t just mean an iPad in their stores for their POS. Many have an iPad for personal use.
I resisted buying an iPad for a long time, but it has been totally worth it.
My investment was around $500 total. If you already own an iPad or tablet with note-taking capabilities, then your investment in digital note-taking will be much less!
Members of Master Shopkeepers have heard all about this journey of mine, and it has prompted many conversations and tips in our group, including letting them in on a secret that I’ll be announcing soon.
I know digital note-taking won’t be for everyone, but what IS important here is that if you’re drowning in and frustrated with handwritten paper notes or journaling, this could be a FANTASTIC solution for you.
Please note that some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking the link.
I make recommendations because I believe they are useful to shopkeepers. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
- [01:59] What is Digital Note Taking?
- [05:03] Why I Switched From Paper to Digital Notes
- [14:14] What You’ll Need to Get Started With Digital Note Taking
- [19:43] If You’re Drowning in Paper, Make The Switch to Digital
*Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links or codes, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I make recommendations because I feel they are helpful and useful to shopkeepers, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links or codes. Please do not spend money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.