Why Writing Things Down Can Boost Productivity
July 05, 2021 • 5 min read
Nowadays it seems like everyone uses apps and software for planning as we can’t hold everything in our heads. Be it some personal situation or a regular work routine, we’re always on the lookout for the most effective app or software for planning and just typing some notes down. Did you know that this way of planning is hindering your productivity and development, though?
Even in the modern, technology-driven world, the pen remains mightier than your keyboard. It’s all because handwriting offers a host of cognitive benefits. More and more entrepreneurs use a pen and a paper planner in their daily lives for that reason. Today we’re going to discover the power of writing things down and why handwriting is a lot better than software and apps when you want to boost productivity.
How a personal planner can significantly improve all aspects of your life
It’s great to add a few more tasks to your digital to-do list, but have you ever noticed that most of the tasks on that list left undone? Moreover, you can add that task in a short form and forget the details or why or how you should do it. When it comes to planning your day, software and apps might help a lot, but they can’t provide all those benefits that a personal planner has to offer.
First of all, keyboards and pens involve absolutely different cognitive processes. A keyboard doesn’t require special skills; all you should do is simply press the needed keys. Handwriting requires various skills and is a complex task. When you write, you need to feel the paper and pen, move the writing tool, and direct this movement by thought.
Although apps and software allow you to switch fonts and change the page layout, your possibilities are still restricted. If an app or software doesn’t include a certain feature, you can do nothing about it. When you write a personal planner, you have bigger graphic freedom. The electronic text and notes don’t give you that freedom.
Most importantly, when you write by hand, your memory improves. Research published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that using paper and pen, not gadgets, to take notes enhances memory and improves the ability to understand and retain concepts.
When you write your tasks, plans, ideas, or whatever, in your personal planner, you boost your well-being and career at the same time. A personal planner improves your physical health by providing you with the opportunity to schedule regular dentist and doctor appointments, manage and keep track of tasks and things like exercise and diet, and ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D and fresh air by scheduling outdoor activities.
The planner also improves your mental health benefits by eliminating anxiety and stress. You can give vent to your pent-up feelings, without overloading your family and friends with your problems. Plus, a personal planner can help you manage your time better and be more productive during the day.
How to use a planning system to crush goals and boost productivity
If you’ve used to plan out your day, it’s also critical to create monthly and annual goals. However, it’s not enough to just set goals. You should plan and take steps to achieve those goals. The first thing you need to do when you start your goal setting process is to think long term and create big picture goals. Use a page or two in your personal planner to map out what you want your life to look like in 2-5-10 years. Create charts, doodles, lists, or anything that you believe can help you achieve your goals. This way, you’ll define where you’re headed and begin to break it down into critical action steps.
Another research done by the Dominican University of California showed that goals are easier to reach when they’re written down. The goals can be personal and business-related. The planner is an excellent place to keep all your goals in order and check them off once in a while.
As soon as you come up with your long-term goals, think about your annual and monthly goals. Take a look at your long-term goals and see what you can do this year to become closer to them. Have a separate page in your planner to list your annual goals as well as a plan of actions for getting there. Limit these goals to 2 or 3, as you might not be able to truly concentrate on more than that.
Look back at your annual goals at the beginning of each month in order to find out what you should do in this month to achieve those goals till the end of the year. For instance, you want to start your own business and you need at least $3,000 for it. Each month you should save at least $250 or more. Or you might list a few actions that might help you reach your goal faster. Plan out your garage sale or a part-time job.
At the beginning of each week, take a look at your monthly goals and see what you can do this week to make those goals happen. For example, this week you can give up on Starbucks and make your own coffee at home. Mark that in your planner for Monday and other days of the week.
Finally, plan out your day and try to include your goals in your daily plan. Create your to-do list for the whole day and assign every task to a certain hour time slot. When you have a plan for the day written down, it’s easier to keep track of them. Therefore, a personal planner encourages you to control every individual task you should do and shows you when to move on to the next task efficiently and effectively, helping you stay productive all year round.
How to use a personal planner to manage your time
Time is money and it must never be wasted, regardless of what’s happening in your life right now. Once you create your daily or weekly plan and define your tasks, create your activity list and figure out the resource and time requirements for every activity. Schedule each activity into a logical sequence, starting with the most important one. Implement the plan, observing and controlling your tasks as you go. Make sure you schedule short breaks and lunch, too.
Most busy people use their planners to schedule each appointment, event, task, and errand in order to know what to expect each day so that they don’t run out of time on the most important task of the day or week.
How a personal planner helps to create daily routines
A daily routine is a wonderful way to keep yourself focused on your goals. The more you commit to it, the more motivated and productive you’ll become. The hardest thing is to create a routine that you’ll be following day by day. Begin your day with recording even the tiniest thing you do. Write down the beginning and end times for all activities regardless of how small they are. Your personal planner will help you with it.
At the end of the day, check out every activity or task you complete during the day and be sure to remove pointless or time-consuming ones from your tomorrow’s to-do list. Then, write down or mark out all the productive activities, replacing unproductive tasks or activities. Arrange your next day into a schedule and see how you manage it. Eventually, you create a routine that you can really follow.
Why successful people take notes
If you want to achieve success, consider becoming an avid note taker. Get into a habit of carrying your personal planner everywhere or just keep it handy in the office so that you could scribble down important information. Capturing notes will help you get things and worries out of your mind and down on a page of the planner. It will inspire you to take actions on the tasks that you write down. Plus, you can save important contacts without worrying that your phone will discharge during the critical moment.
Dedicate a part of your planner for your random notes. Write down all of your thoughts, ideas, frustrations, and potential plans. You can look through these quick notes when planning your next day or week and get more things done. Turn your notes into actionable tasks or ideas to achieve bigger goals.
Successful people also take notes as it helps them enhance memory. We tend to lose about 40% of new information within twenty-four hours after hearing or reading it. Constant note taking helps to retrieve and retain about 100% of all the information received. Every time you take a handwritten note, you organize your thoughts, forcing your brain to process the received information in a much deeper way.
Why Writing Things Down Can Boost Productivity Final Thoughts
The power of writing things down is enormous, especially if you want to boost productivity. So before you pay for the next day planner app or software, think about how beneficial it will be to you. Will this investment make you a step closer to your success? Will it give you enough space and freedom for note-taking, organizing your tasks and thoughts, or just giving vent to those pent-up feelings. Invest in a personal planner that you love, instead. Have it for various situations, learning or working experiences, and for personal development. If you’re an entrepreneur, having two planners – for business and personal development – would be an ideal decision.