Human beings have long been fond of jotting things down. In fact, the Kish Tablet is the oldest written document that mankind has to hand – and it’s almost 6,000 years old.
But in today’s increasingly digital world, the trusty notepad has been replaced by to-do list apps, and the fountain pen has been ousted by Google Docs.
Sadly, the good old fashioned practise of putting pen to paper has lost its allure.
But there are six excellent psychological reasons why you should help revive it.
1. It Helps You Think Bigger
Writing down your dreams, goals, and business ideas helps you brainstorm on a more ambitious scale.
There’s nothing quite like writing down a startup idea in the middle of a blank page and then branching out with a flurry of ideas.
Plus, writing down your thoughts gives you a chance to explore dreams that you may not wish to share with others. It also affords you a physical space to keep track of those thoughts, and return to them later if needed.
2. You’ll Learn More
A study carried out in 2010 by Indiana University found that the areas of the brain associated with learning worked far better when kids were asked to write words like "spaceship" by hand versus just studying the word off a whiteboard.
So, note taking in class wasn’t all for nothing, after all.
3. You’ll Remember More
Learning and remembering are two different things (outside of the school system, that is).
Writing things down that you need to remember – like checklists – gives you a far better chance of actually remembering them when you have to.
But don’t just take my word for it. In 2014, the Association of Psychological Science reported that students who physically took notes received a memory boost – particularly when compared to those who took notes via a laptop.
4. You Won’t Be As Distracted
Shunning your notepad to write on a device is a dangerous game.
As you type, notifications will often slide into view to drag you away from your task. Plus, your favourite social media platform is always just a few taps away.
Goold old fashioned paper will keep you focused – and focus is the key to thinking clearer, and thinking better.
5. It Frees up Mental RAM
Your brain is like a hard drive. A multi-layered, super-epic, crazily-complex hard drive.
When you note down your ideas, thoughts, and emotions, it helps your brain to unload some baggage, giving it room to think about other things. Or better yet, with all that extra space, it could even begin to relax.
6. You’ll Stay Sharper As You Age
According to the world renowned science journal Neurology, writing things down will keep you on top of your memory game for longer.
In a press release, the study’s author Robert Wilson, a Neuropsychologist, said that, "Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities [such as reading and writing] across a person's lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age.”
So, if you want to remember where you left your keys thirty years from now, I suggest you start writing more today.
The benefits of writing things down the old fashioned way are very real, and they’ll make a serious impact on your daily routine – and on your life as a whole.
And the best part is, unlike some other “life hacks” out there, writing is an activity that’s hugely accessible to almost all of us. That's why we created the 10x Journal— a notebook designed to increase productivity by encouraging you to write down your daily goals and work towards them.
Let us know what works for you. Do you prefer to write the old fashioned way (with pen and pencil) or do you use your smartphone to take notes? Have you ever tried journaling, and did it work for you?
About the Author
Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.