How To Use the Charting Note-Taking Method (With Templates)

How to Use the Charting Note-Taking Method (With Templates!)

Attending countless meetings can become tiresome, and if you have to take notes for each meeting and process them, it can become even more tedious.

Even with exceptional note-taking skills, it can be difficult to summarize and identify action points from multiple unstructured notes. This can lead to some essential information getting lost in the pages of your digital journals

The charting note-taking method can simplify the process, giving you an easy reference to all the crucial points discussed and action items of every meeting you’ve attended. The charting method uses labeled rows and columns to jot down vital information. It structures your meeting notes to ensure you don’t have to spend hours identifying the action items. 

This article examines the charting method for taking notes, tools, and templates to ease the task. 

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What is the Charting Note-Taking Method? 

Charting note-taking is a structured approach that categorizes notes using tables—rows represent topics, and columns represent categories within the topic. This method is perfect for comparing information, such as strengths and weaknesses or the performance of your marketing campaign. 

This note-taking method helps you compare and contrast information when sorting a lot of data. The tables and rows are ideal for analyzing patterns, trends, similarities, and differences. 

Suppose you are a marketing manager tasked with comparing the performance of different paid campaigns. Here’s how you can use the charting note-taking method to analyze data. 

Marketing channelSpend Reach Sign-ups 
Facebook Ads USD 500 20,000 50 
Google Ads USD 50050,000 100
Email newsletter sponsorship USD 1000 5000 100 
An example of using the charting note-taking method for data analysis
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How to Take Notes Using the Charting Note-Taking Method 

Step 1: Identify the elements of rows and columns 

The first step is determining the elements of the rows and columns. A well-thought-out table will allow you to categorize all aspects of your notes without adding tables or rows midway. 

Your labels should be contextual and specific to generate practical insights from the notes. 

Step 2: Document the notes 

Now that you have a concrete idea of which data points to map under which label, it’s time to take notes and document them in your charting template. Fill the template with critical concepts, supporting references, examples, key phrases, numbers, and anything else that will help you visualize the notes in the future. 

A great note-taking strategy for documenting notes efficiently is using the Sentence Method. This method suggests writing every fact or topic in a new sentence and numbering them as you progress. However, in this instance, your notes will be more organized than simply jotting them down in paragraphs. 

Step 3: Note down points in the respective cells  

Finally, review the relevant notes and ensure they are properly structured according to the charting method. Save them in a common folder so you and your team members can revisit and revise them when needed. 

Pro tip💡: Regardless of the note-taking methods, implement the Sentence Method to write complete sentences to summarize and organize your thoughts. 

For example, write each topic and supporting detail in complete sentences. Every new topic begins on a new line with a number in the margin.

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When to Use the Charting Method? 

Meeting notes

The charting method makes taking notes during meetings effortless in a hierarchical structure. Before any meeting, create a table with attendees’ names in rows and key points to be discussed in bullet points with supporting details. Add comments for action items and team members responsible for the task. As the meeting progresses, you can make notes in respective cells. 

Consider using AI note-takers to record meetings, outline key takeaways, and organize data and complex topics in an easy-to-understand format so that you can focus on the meeting rather than taking notes. 

What adds to the convenience here is that advanced note-taking apps are compatible with Android devices, making it easy to take notes on the go.  

Brainstorming

Suppose you maintain a shared space for brainstorming new ideas with your team members. In that case, the charting method is helpful whether you’re importing this data into Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or digital note-taking apps. 

Add rows for each team member and record their ideas in the columns. You can extend the columns further to note the pros and cons of these ideas, their impacts, and feedback.  

Project management

The charting note-taking method is useful for small-scale project management. Integrate your project management software with a charting note-taking application to document project names in rows and other details like status, assignee, feedback, and sub-tasks in the columns for quick accessibility and visibility. 

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Charting Note-Taking Method Tools

You need charting note-taking tools that simplify the note-taking process, accommodate your team members, and improve visibility for the entire team. 

Here are the best charting note-taking tools to make your job easier: 

ClickUp Docs for collaborative editing 

When taking notes digitally, you want a handy app with a user-friendly UI, accessibility, and searchability. 

ClickUp Docs has everything you need for structured note-taking and document creation, from documenting your daily notes to complex project management needs. 

Organize and bring all your notes to a centralized hub for personal use and to share with team members.

Pro tip💡: Teams and project management professionals use ClickUp Docs to create wikis, meeting minutes and agendas, and knowledge bases; they can be linked directly to tasks, comments, and chat conversations. 

With collaborative editing within ClickUp Docs, multiple team members can work together without overlap, creating a seamless note-taking experience. Embed your files, images, tables, columns, and even links from YouTube and spreadsheets within the notes. 

The advanced typography and rich editing features let you format the notes, change the font size and color, highlight a specific point in a different color, and add colored banners to break the textual monotony. 

With ClickUp Docs, note-taking doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. Go wild with the visual representations. 

Here’s how a marketing manager can use ClickUp Docs to brainstorm, document meeting agendas, and add more campaign details for a product launch. 

Use ClickUp Docs to create and organize content effectively
Use ClickUp Docs to create and organize content effectively

ClickUp Notepad for organizing your thoughts and notes 

Sometimes, you need an interface to jot down your thoughts or brainstorm ideas during, before, or after a meeting. 

Open your ClickUp Notepad and start putting your thoughts into words or visuals. 

ClickUp Notepad
Quickly jot down notes, format with rich editing, and transform entries into trackable tasks with ClickUp Notepad

When inspiration strikes, ClickUp’s sticky notes ensure you do not miss out on noting different ideas. 

To add to your convenience, the note entries are transformed into trackable tasks that you can access from anywhere. Add due dates, assignees, comments, and priorities to convert ideas into actionable tasks—so that they’re not mere ideas but rather put into action. 

Add checklists to the action items to create a visual hierarchy for easy organization, and drag and drop the items to different locations. 

Pro tip💡: ClickUp Tasks links notes to specific tasks, goals, and projects. Add assignees, embed them in your workflows, and break the tasks into milestones. 

Take your note-taking to the next level with ClickUp AI as your writing assistant

What sets ClickUp apart from traditional note-taking apps is that it makes note-taking easier with ClickUp Brain, an AI meeting notes generator

ClickUp Brain facilitates fast and concise note-taking using natural language processing. Improve the quality of your notes and boost your meeting productivity. Here’s how it helps you: 

  • Brainstorm: Sparks creativity by suggesting ideas during meetings and ideation session 
  • Create action items: Converts ideas into actionable tasks within ClickUp’s project management platform. Eliminate unnecessary steps of having to remember/assign what needs to be done next 
  • Summarize notes: Generates concise summaries of the meeting notes and highlights key points for future reference
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Using ClickUp Brain to brainstorm meeting ideas for a product launch
Using ClickUp Brain to brainstorm meeting ideas for a product launch

Read more: 10 best org chart software tools in 2024 (free and paid) 

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Bonus: Note-Taking Strategies to Boost Your Productivity 

Two experiments compared the effects of longhand note-taking, photographing lecture notes with a smartphone camera, and not taking any notes on video-recorded lecture learning. 

Learners who wrote and reviewed longhand notes fared better than those who did not take notes because note-taking encourages less mind wandering, and the information has a higher memory recall. 

Some tips for effective note-taking are: 

  • Have a note-taking strategy: Based on the type of content or information you’re inputting, ranging from Cornell method, Boxing, or bullet journaling to Charting 
  • Leverage AI tools: To transcribe notes, get searchable time-stamped transcripts, and create trackable tasks 
  • Take notes collaboratively: Each person can focus on different elements in the meeting 
  • Get visual: Break down complex topics using colors, bullets, checklists, and mind maps or concept maps for visual learners 
  • Use the mapping method of note-taking: A central idea evolves into related concepts. This is ideal for documenting lecture content. After fast-paced lectures, use the mapping method to create a clear outline, summarize information, and record different concepts 
  • Use pre-built templates: Prebuilt ClickUp templates are accessible on Android devices to help you take notes on the go. Even if you are a Mac user, you can use ClickUp as it works seamlessly on Mac for digital notes (however, not all note-taking apps are compatible with Apple devices) 
  • Tag team members: This is for people who could not attend the meeting to go through the notes to stay on top of all the discussions 

The next section covers ClickUp’s meeting templates based on the circumstances and goals you want to achieve. 

Read more: Note-taking apps for Android 

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ClickUp’s Free Note-Taking Templates for Different Use Cases 

Note-taking templates are a structured framework to capture and organize activities such as meetings, lectures, or daily chores. They offer a systematic layout for recording and categorizing essential details throughout the day. 

ClickUp’s templates are customizable, with predefined sections, accessible and compatible across devices, and can accommodate various text types. The most relevant templates include: 

1. ClickUp’s Meeting Notes Template 

Take meeting notes efficiently using the ClickUp Meeting Notes Template

You must plan and document important information for weekly meetings or daily standups, including the agenda, discussion points, and action items.

ClickUp’s Meeting Notes Template gives you a headstart—with meeting guidelines and structure. The best part is that ClickUp Brain summarizes the meeting notes you can share with the attendees. Spend more time adding to the conversations than taking notes and remembering the discussions. 

Let’s take a use case: If you’re a consultant, post the meeting, ClickUp Brain creates and spends a snapshot of the deliverables and meeting minutes to keep the clients updated on the high-level progress. (notification table)

Read more: 10 best sticky notes apps and tools for 2024 

2. ClickUp’s Daily Notes Template 

Use ClickUp’s Daily Notes Template as a centralized hub for personal knowledge management

We get it—you’ve been scribbling notes forever. However, note-taking methods offer a structured way to organize your thoughts or record the significant points of the discussion. 

ClickUp’s Daily Notes Template helps you stay organized, take notes effectively, and track progress on action items. For example, project managers can use this template to record the main points, track the daily tasks, and quickly review their performance against the overall goals.

Four steps to using ClickUp’s Daily Notes Template:

  • Set your daily goals using ClickUp Tasks 
  • Break down the goal into smaller manageable tasks. Use the ClickUp’s Gantt Chart View to schedule tasks and prioritize your workload
  • Track the tasks pending, completed, and underway. Move tasks between columns using ClickUp’s Board View 
  • Reflect on the daily progress with ClickUp Milestones and track the team’s progress against major checkpoints

3. ClickUp’s Project Note Template 

From initial plans to final reports, document everything across your project’s lifecycle with ClickUp’s Project Note Template

For projects involving cross-functional teams, you must have a ready-to-use template with supplementary information that stakeholders and the leadership can refer to better understand the project. 

ClickUp’s Project Note Template ensures that all the information related to the project lifecycle is hosted in one place, from initial plans to final reports and everything in between. The key benefits of using this template are: 

  • Provides a consistent format for recording project information 
  • Ensures critical information does not fall through the cracks 
  • Improves communication between teams 
  • Allows for easy progress tracking 

Start by creating a Doc with relevant information including timeline, budget, goals, purpose, and anything else to be added. This data can then be inputted into the template for everyone to view, edit, track, and refer to. 

4. ClickUp’s Meeting Note Style Template 

Whether you’re managing a team or staying on top of your to-do list, use ClickUp’s Meeting Note Style Template to capture notes effectively

As a team member, you want to stay on top of your daily tasks and make sure you complete them. 

As a project manager, you want to review the status of the hundreds of tasks you’re expected to complete or monitor. 

As a stakeholder, you want the update on critical tasks handy without having to bug your managers over endless follow-ups. 

Whatever your need, ClickUp’s Meeting Note Style Template lets you capture critical information in an easy-to-use format, track conversations from different meetings, organize tasks in a centralized repository, and share progress with the leadership in real-time. 

5. ClickUp’s Cornell Note Template 

Use ClickUp’s Cornell Note Template when you want to synthesize large volumes of information

Learners and academicians use the Cornell method of note-taking to memorize information. 

Here’s how you can input information in the ClickUp Cornell Note Template

  • Add notes from the lecture into the two columns on the right side 
  • The smaller column on the left is for keywords, prompts, hints, and questions 
  • Add a summary at the top at the bottom of the page to quickly review the main points before the exam 
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Level up Your Note Taking with ClickUp 

Whether you’re a student or a professional, digital note-takers like ClickUp are life savers. They allow you to capture meeting notes effectively, regardless of your note-taking method, whether the charting method or anything else. 

ClickUp has a suite of features to maximize your productivity, ranging from ClickUp Brain as your AI note-taking assistant, ClickUp Docs to record information collaboratively, ClickUp Tasks to assign action items to your team members, and ClickUp Milestones to track progress. 

The best part is that all these features and pre-built templates are accessible from your mobile device and across the devices you use to retrieve information.

To try one of ClickUp’s note-taking templates, sign up on Clickup for free.

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