Recently, Gini Dietrich wrote a post on Spin Sucks entitled Technology Vs. Paper for Your Task List, and in my very unscientific study of all the responses, over 75% of the respondents said they used both paper and online tools OR paper alone for their task lists.
The dirty little secret? People use paper! They actually write…longhand…Eeegads!
I’ve been carrying around the same moleskin daytimer (well, not exactly the same one, but the same type, haha!) for years, and I have too many beautifully bound journals to even count.
Many people who commented on Gini’s post said that the very act of crossing something off their list was very cathartic, and gave them a sense of accomplishment.
Writing by hand is more of a right-brain, creative activity.
Keyboarding (or texting or punching anything digital) is more a left-brain, logical activity.
So, when we’re results oriented, digital/punching/pressing makes lots of sense.
But when we’re process AND results oriented, that good old paper and pen (or Sharpie and moleskin), can be as comforting as Linus’ blanket.
Now before you get your shirt in a knot and cry out to defend one over the other, it’s not an either-or situation.
Of course you can be creative when keyboarding. And of course you can accomplish things when writing longhand.
It’s simply a matter of choosing what works for you, for what purpose and for what result, as so many commenters said over on Spin Sucks.
Judy Dunn wrote a great piece entitled “Pencils, Pens and Writing from the Heart: The Beauty of Low-tech Blogging“, where she references a Wall Street Journal article and the research that shows that handwriting engages the brain in learning and creativity.
So lest we think that the importance of handwriting should go the way of the dinosaur, pop over to see this short video, identifying an unmistakable link between fine motor skills and later achievement. Play-doh, grasping techniques and handwriting all instil a love and appreciation of writing that translates to later academic success. It’s not known why or how writing predicts this later achievement, but how cool is that?
Even with all the technology at our fingertips, if we don’t give our fingertips more exercise than picking-pecking-punching-and-pounding, we’re not really optimizing our creativity and brain power.
So get out that moleskin…sharpen that pencil…grab the play-doh (did you know that play-doh was originally intended as a wallpaper cleaner?), cut and paste, draw, paint and WRITE!
Even in our digital world, a little old-school handwriting goes a long, long way.
Cheers! (and if I could have handwritten that, I would have:)