Modern humans often use computers, tablets, or smartphones for their notetaking needs, trading in pens for keyboards in the name of efficiency. We must wonder, however, if these modern advancements actually better our lives. Computers may be fast and have the ability to store our thoughts on one little hard drive, but writing by hand is both a physical and mental exercise that can greatly benefit you and your career. More and more people are beginning to recognize this benefit, causing an increase in the popularity of organizational trends such as bullet journaling. When making the argument for writing by hand, we must think about how it applies to the things that most affect our life—the workplace being one of them.
Whether it’s in work meetings or during class, most of us have to take notes at some point in our lives. Technology such as computers and tablets, however, can be distracting not just to those around us, but to the user as well. These devices provide easy opportunities to respond to that friend’s message or to look up that chicken recipe you were planning on making for dinner. Those quick distractions add up throughout the day—you probably wouldn’t want to know the detrimental effects they have on your productivity.
Even if you are using your time well in meetings by ignoring the temptations of the Web, your colleagues may not know this. A screen can cause your coworkers to doubt your productivity, but writing notes by hand affirms that you’re listening and that you consider the speaker’s words to be important. A computer presents an endless amount of distractions, whereas a sheet of paper and a pen make a statement. These items say that you’re taking stock and plan to apply what you’re hearing.
Writing by hand may also help you see patterns in information. When you click between multiple browser tabs on your computer, you’re probably too caught up in trying to keep your information organized to truly retain what you’re reviewing. Handwritten notes allow you to flip through the pages and easily connect the dots between pieces of information. They can also be a time-saver in the long run, as the time constraints of physically writing notes requires you to filter out and document only the most important information.
Writing by hand also allows you to feel better. A computer is nice to have, but the proper writing materials can evoke the feeling of status. A pixelated Word document can never rival the feeling of a dense leather journal and luxurious titanium pen. The world may evolve into smart cars and smart watches, but some things will outlast new generations of smartphones or electronic watches, each of which fizzles out after just a few years. A well-made pen, however, can last a lifetime.
How you perform at work affects your life as a whole. The method by which you choose to record important information may seem small, yet it’s anything but. Pull out those writing materials and give yourself a month to write solely by hand. We guarantee you’ll see the difference it makes.