The Bookmark You Take Notes On

How do you engage with a book while reading it?

Do you underline and take notes in the margins?

Do you simply stop and ponder any interesting idea that you come across?

Here I’d like to propose a more active way of reading, by creating a bookmark that you can take notes on.

Check out the video above and recap below to see this approach in action.

The Trifold Bookmark

The setup is pretty simple: just fold a piece of paper into thirds, giving yourself six columns to work with.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

Start by folding a piece of paper into thirds.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

I add column numbers in the upper left (on both sides) to help me keep track of the flow.

I enjoy using thick 9 x 12 inch paper from this sketchbook and I add one of these pen holders to my book so that my note-taking materials are always availabe.

Column by Column Notes

While reading, keep your folded bookmark close by, and any time an interesting or important idea comes up, jot it down.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

No desk? No problem! The book becomes your table, allowing you to take this minimal setup anywhere.

Here are some examples from the book that I’m currently reading, The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

These rough visual notes are meant to capture key ideas, just for me.

Since I like taking visual notes, you can see me alternating between quick sketches, diagrams, and short phrases to capture each new idea.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

I enjoy treating these notes as a place to experiment with new visuals, building new sketchnoting skills while also learning new material.

I’ve found that I enjoy the constraint of a column by column approach. It keeps me moving in one direction and helps me to chunk up ideas.

The Pros & Cons

Though I’m still experimenting with this approach to reading and note-taking, I have already noticed some pros and cons.

The First 20 Hours of Sketchnoting

An overview of bookmark note-taking. Intrigued? Give it a try!

The pros:

  • Better understanding while reading
  • Make more connections and explore interesting tangents
  • Practice drawing new things
  • Finish the book with a complete set of visual notes
  • Smooth transition to the next stage of work
  • No need to keep the physical book

The cons:

  • Slower reading pace
  • More resistance to pick up the book

So far the pros are outweighing the cons and I’m enjoy this process more than my previous approach to book note-taking, so I’m going to stick with this method.

If you’re intrigued, do give it a try!

Learn How to Take Visual Notes

If you’d like to weave more sketches into your note-taking process, come join us inside of Verbal to Visual.

There you’ll find a full library of sketchnoting courses and regular live workshops to help you build your skills:

You can learn more and sign up here.