Although digital is fast erasing our need for paper tools, there is nothing quite like putting pen to paper. Sure, its digital counterparts may win on speed and efficiency but there is a powerful, unparalleled connection between handwriting and cognitive abilities that can’t be replicated on the keyboard. So, before you toss out your trusty notepad and permanently replace your 2018 diary with iCal, allow us to justify why this old-school habit is one worth reviving.
With a constant stream of thoughts cycling through our minds, often in a wave like motion, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
Consider the speed and usability of your Mac or PC when there are numerous applications open. Not optimal. Well, the same principle applies to your brain.
The simple act of writing down your intentions, tasks and thoughts is like closing the excess number of tabs open in your brain and deactivating the self-inflicted pressure to remember it all. It also forces you to translate your thoughts in a cohesive and authentic manner without potential distractions.
Downloading your mental baggage gives your mind freedom to either focus on the task at hand or switch on relaxation mode, depending on the time of day.
If there is a free way that has been proven to increase your likelihood of achieving your lifelong dream, you would do it, wouldn’t you?
According to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down on a regular basis.
While daydreaming about your desired future is an exciting pastime that surely evokes many positive emotions, it only uses the right hemisphere of your brain (also referred to as your imaginative center).
Creating a physical record of your goals not only makes it a more concrete concept, it taps into the power of your left logic-based hemisphere which activates a new level of consciousness - one that helps you take ownership and stay accountable to your written intentions.
It can be very difficult to draw connections, highlight and expand on your ideas in a meaningful way when they are not properly articulated in front of you.
Thinking on paper opens a world of possibility. It provides you with a physical space to clarify and explore your ideas and ambitions which in turn, is a productive way of organising and processing your thoughts.
The physical act of writing brings to focus what is most important - something that is impossible to do when there are a million thoughts dancing around in your brain. Ultimately, when your thoughts are clear, you’ll be better equipped to take action.
Consider the number of times you’ve thought of an amazing idea or a task you want to complete for the day, haven’t written it down and moments later, it vanishes without a trace. The simple act of putting pen to paper improves your focus and attention span and alleviates the frustration of losing your unpredictable train of thought.
The simple act of writing down your to-do lists, goals and thoughts is the best way to declutter your mind, focus your attention accordingly and enter a more productive headspace. Oh, and the satisfaction of physically ticking something off your list never quite fades!