Write it down? What’s that?
How often have you seen someone lately with a notebook and pen in hand? My guess is not very often. Now, think back and ask yourself how many people have you seen on a screen lately? I bet the numbers are explosive right now in your mind. They may be reading or typing, but the screen is the gateway to just about anything these days.
I am from an era, however, where people wrote things down — and I mean wrote everything down as lugging out a typewriter to type anything out other than something formal wasn’t about to happen. We wrote out to do lists, recipes, essays, budgets, reminders, letters, notes, and whatever else you can think of — if we were wanting to record something for any reason we were grabbing a pen and paper.
I went back to graduate school in my mid-40s and during the very first class I definitely noticed a change. As class began, everyone was pulling out their laptops as I pulled out my fresh notebook and pen. It didn’t take me too long to gather who was the dinosaur in the room — me! However, that never bothered me, and I gladly opened up my tools to begin to record my notes.
At that point, the Professor looked out into the sea of students in the large class and addressed everyone, “I see you all have your laptops out ready to go, but there is hard core research that says people best learn by writing down notes — something about pen to paper contact makes absorbing information easier.”
Of course, the Professor was probably ten years older than me, so I thought perhaps she just hasn’t gotten with the times and is using “research” as an excuse to not feel so old given how it used to be. However, more and more there has been research out that says exactly this — humans remember more when we write it down.
I know for me this is true. Once I have my to do list written, I sort of know in my head what is on there more so than when I type it on a screen. I have an electronic calendar and I have a paper calendar. Oh how I love my written calendar and writing it all down. Partly this is my era and partly it is because I remember it all better when I write it down.
I was struck recently when a person in her mid 20s was discussing crafting a budget and related she was writing it all out and that this helped her more than any budget app as she could see for herself the ecosystem of her money and remember the amounts and the categories much more easily. Even someone much younger than myself finds putting pen to paper better.
So, if you are having difficulty remembering tasks, events on the calendar, tracking your money and/or any other number of tasks, write it down instead. Try it at the very least.
Oh! And everyone always appreciates a handwritten letter! You could even begin there!