I can take a fountain pen and take notes on paper.
I can write a blog post with ideas I am working on.
I can open a document that has my work so far on the project.
I can simply read without taking notes.
All these ways of working are fine, and in fact necessary. That's basically the only way that I work, except for the final stages, in which I must make sure all the bibliography and notes are there. If I were a good scholar, I would do all the bibliography much earlier and save myself work.