Why I Use Pen and Paper

There are so many cool apps out there that can help you get organized and save time. I love using technology to help me get through the day.  

On the other hand, there are certain things which are better off being done the old fashioned way.  When creating my to do list or planning out my day or week, pen and paper wins. It also wins for things like brainstorming or taking notes. 

Now depending on what I am writing down, I make take a picture of my list with my phone to have with me. Or, I might enter the information into a google calendar or other app.  But, initially, I write it all out on paper. 

There are certain things which are better off being done the old fashioned way.  When creating my to do list or planning out my day or week, pen and paper wins. It also wins for things like brainstorming or taking notes. Here's why:

The Benefits

Actually taking the time to write things down on paper has numerous benefits. First off, writing things down causes you to think more about what you are writing.  This makes you more likely to remember what you have written.  If you write out your schedule by hand, you are more likely to remember your appointments than if you just enter them into a calendar. 

When taking notes, writing things by hand has a distinct advantage.  An NPR article quotes the following, "When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can," Mueller tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them." 

While this scenario involves the classroom, it can also apply to meetings at work, or at your child's school, or any other situation where you might take notes.  

When you are writing by hand, you are processing the information. There is a connection between your brain, your hand and the words you are writing. You are more selective of what you write because it takes longer and who wants to write more than they have to.

On the other hand, typing is more of an automatic process. Instead of thinking of the words and ideas, we are just letting the words go right through us and onto the keyboard. We tend to try to type out everything which makes us more interested in speed, than actually paying attention to the information. 

Even if what you are writing down are just your own thoughts and ideas, the connection form head to hand to paper is far more fluid and allows for more creativity.

You can also more easily use different colors or draw lines to organize or connect thoughts. Sometimes it is good to get thoughts onto paper first and then enter it digitally once the ideas are more clearly organized. Pen and paper allows for more manipulation. 

Using pen and paper

What to Write

For these reasons, I recommend always writing out by hand the following items, even if you later save them electronically.

  • Brain storming
  • To do lists
  • Schedules
  • Notes for meetings, classes, or conversations
  • Mind Maps
  • Organizational charts

Are you a tech mama or do you love keeping it old school with pen and paper? Maybe you're like me and prefer a combination of both. Let me know how you roll in the comments. 

Cheers,

Emily

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