I love to observe how notes are taken. There’s this systematic process running. A process guided by your thinking. Your notes may be tidy or colorful, organized or overwhelming, incomplete, or exactly the same every time. Imagine if your note-taking mirrors your state of mind. You gain clarity by making a shift to balanced note-taking. Your thinking will naturally follow.


Balanced Note-Taking + Balanced Thinking = Clarity


Over the last few years, I’ve experimented a lot with my notes as my thinking patterns shifted. (Plus, I’m big into making my own custom journals :)) I use to write in an organized list format and mainly used the lenses of planning and action.

When I look back, I notice a big gap in what I was capturing. I saw lots of goals, timelines, actions, and ideas. Links to things like vision, values, choices, people, and overall connectivity were missing.

Now, I use lots of frameworks. I use an abundance of color, and I draw in my notes a lot. After all, an image is worth 1,000 words. My mind is able to make connections a lot easier and know when something is out of balance.

I’m sharing here a four dimensional framework that helps to balance out your notes and your thinking.

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4 Lenses to Balance Your Note-Taking

To illustrate, I’ll use a work example. Let’s assume you’ve been taking notes on an upcoming client presentation. “Client presentation” would go in the middle circle of the note framework. (see image)


1. Lens of Meaning

Here you start at the top. What is it you really want? How does it support who you want to be in life? Why is it important to you? What do you intend to give others? What are choices to be taken?

Example notes:

  • Be a trusted advisor
  • Connect with like-minded people
  • Share meaningful insights
  • Support client to make right decisions

2. Lens of Shared Experiences

Even with your big heart, this is an easy one to miss out on. How do you want to connect with others? What type of relationships are you growing? What’s the vibe you want to create? How will you handled unexpected situations? Which of your values are most important to put in action?

Example notes:

  • Listen carefully to verbal and non-verbal feedback (adjust as needed)
  • Listen and learn from insights they share
  • Respond rather than react
  • Engage everyone in the room

3. Lens of Purpose

If you’re like me, this is your go-to lens. What are the goals? What resources do you need? What will be the time investment? What capabilities do you need? Who can help you?

Example notes:

  • Set-up support team with right skills
  • Put a story together to share with client
  • Do a practice rehearsal with team
  • Make sure all logistics are in place

4. Lens of Achievement

Get tactical here. What are the actions you need to take to start moving forward? When and where will you do these? Be specific. Make them SMART. Take it up a level and make them sensory-based.

Example notes:

  • Ask each team member to think of a story
  • Identify experts that can help
  • Schedule rehearsal for next Friday
  • Draw out a symbol for team inspiration


Using these four lenses, you bring your notes and your thinking in balance. With balance, you’re clear on the way forward.

Take a current idea and give this process a whirl. Let me know in the comments below which dimension was most challenging for you to complete. I’d appreciate your  insight.

P.S. Remember that writing focuses your attention.

P.S.S If you found this post useful, please share it with a friend, colleague, team member, client. Anyone it might help. Sharing is caring.