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Typing vs. Pen and Paper: Which Works Best?

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Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 8:46AM

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Today’s ultra-connected world can sometimes make simple pen and paper seem obsolete. But is there ever a time to get back to basics, embracing the simple act of writing longhand? We think there might be!

Whether you’re a college student or corporate professional, there are benefits to digital notes as well as traditional physical ones. Wondering when to use which? Just take a look at today’s blog to find out.

The case for computers

Your laptop is like your pride and joy… and with today’s models being made lighter and sleeker, you probably don’t mind bringing it along wherever you go! That makes it an easy way to take notes and jot down important reminders you encounter throughout your day.

When should you use your laptop in lieu of a traditional notepad (and not the notepad app on your computer)? It makes perfect sense for the deadlines and event reminders you can’t afford to miss, since the calendar on your system is foolproof—it can’t get lost in the laundry or behind your desk—and can help you sync reminders across all your devices.

Using your computer is also perfect for collaborative projects. Today’s cloud technologies allow for sharing and collaboration among friends and colleagues, so the digital route works well when you might have questions that call for real-time answers from peers, or if you’re working together on a difficult problem.

When to pull out pen and paper

We love the high-tech, instantaneous nature of digital note taking… but as we mentioned before, it’s not the only way to go! The physical route is just as good and is, in some cases, preferable to the typed alternative.

How do you know when to pull out pen and paper? If the situation requires you to learn material you’ll need at a later date (like a test or even a client meeting), your notepad might be the best option. Research has shown that memory is improved when you physically write something out, as opposed to typing it out verbatim.

You may not be able to write as fast as your subject can speak… but that could turn out to be a good thing! Since you’re forced to write at a faster pace, your mind automatically scans what you’re hearing for the important details (and none of the nonessential stuff). Later on, as you review your notes, you’ll see only the most relevant information… and even if you don’t quite have time to take a second look, you’ll still remember a lot from that initial act of writing.

Note taking doesn’t end with high school. We hope that today’s blog helps you make the most of your next lecture, meeting, or workshop… and remember it long after you leave!


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