How to Improve at Chess: Tip #16: Make notes
Here at Chess.com when you are playing "Online Chess" you have the ability to make notes of your thoughts, ideas, calculations, etc. The next time you bring your game up, look to your right, there is a pane where you can chat/message, - there are 4 tabs: messages, moves, details, and notes. Click on the notes tab, and you can make note of what you intend to play next... remember to SAVE it! Only you have access to this information.
I do not always do this, because some positions and games are uneventful. However, there are some games whereby I need to calculate so many variations, or evaluate so many ideas. For me, the easiest way to keep track of my thoughts, ideas, and calculations, is to make notes. That way, when I come back to the game, I don't have to go through process(es) that I already did and wonder what I intended to play. When I forget to make notes, I usually have to play through the whole game (using the second tab) so as to remind myself how the game went and may be remember what I was thinking or planning to do. I find making notes a lot more effective and efficient (with regard to decision making and thinking). According to Getting Things Done (a book by David Allen), there is no reason for you to have the same idea/thought twice in your mind unless you really like the idea. Clear your mind of stuff, and use your mind for other things... like winning the game .
When you play tournament games, I believe you are not allowed to make notes on your moves as you play. I think there is a restriction/requirement to make your move first and then record it. Here at Chess.com, there is no such restriction. I think it is smart to take advantage of the opportunity.
One may ask if making notes is not a bad habit that would work against you in tournament play. Well, it might. However, at a tournament, your game is always in front of you. You are playing just one game at a time, you have one game to keep track of and it is always in front of you. In that case, you may find it easier to keep track of the many ideas than when you play 5 or 10 games and you are flipping from game to game to game.
So, there is tip# 16: Make notes when you play Chess here at chess.com