Going Off Screen

While most twenty-somethings are typing away, I’m still putting pen to paper. I have always handwritten my notes and letters. I use paper planners, handwritten lists, and sticky note reminders. I even have a separate notebook for each of my clients in my desk drawer.

I just figured I was old-fashioned until my boyfriend (a digital storage devotee) sent me The Ancient Productivity Tool That Will Boost Your Brain Power.  It turns out my note-taking instincts are far from wrong, even if they seem a bit countercultural. Based on new research and their own positive experiences, some techie leaders are encouraging the use of notebooks to improve creativity and focus. I found that the article offered some practical tips for organizations looking to embrace the trend. Still, I wondered what other evidence there was for writing over typing.

I learned that a 2014 experiment by the Association for Psychological Science proved that taking notes by hand is better for long term comprehension.  In the study, students watched TED talks while taking notes either by hand or on a laptop. A quiz on the content of each video was administered after the participants were allowed to review their notes for a 10 minute period. The researchers found that students who took notes by hand performed better.

Here at Just Media, we are encouraged to take notes the old-fashioned way and on our laptops. Just this week more than half the office was in a meeting, the majority with only a pen and paper for notes. Even if you are just using paper for to-do lists, there are few things more gratifying that physically crossing something off your list.

However, if you still prefer the screen try a Kanban system. I use Trello for personal goals and projects. And the Search department started using it a few months ago. (Brief plug for having a good search marketing team: when I searched for Trello’s homepage, I was fed a cheeky ad that likely used Dynamic Keyword Insertion to tell me, “When You Out Grow Trello, Try Wrike.”) As you can see, there are many wonderful and free project management tools available that can provide the tactile fun of traditional to-do lists for the tech lover in your life. Just remember, writing is better for retention. Plus you can always digitize your notes later, or skip that step and take notes with a stylus on a tablet.

Happy writing!

Mary Rideout
Just Media, Inc.

Share This Article