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The Productive Power of Writing by Hand

The Productive Power of Writing by Hand

Despite today’s advanced technological devices, there’s nothing like scribbling down a daily to-do list or strategically placing Post-it® Note reminders throughout your office and living space. To others, this is now a foreign concept. Why would anyone waste time making a list they’d most likely forget when they race out the door each day?

Writing by hand is an art. We have a personal connection to our individual styles and techniques for creating what appears before us; whereas, tapping a screen or keyboard creates virtual, uniform text that lacks personality. Sure, some fonts are more spirited and festive while others lean toward a more professional appeal. But with any digital font, each letter looks the same no matter how many times it appears on the screen.

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Benefits of Handwritten To-Do Lists

It may take us longer to hand write anything than to type it, but for many, the benefits of scribbling on things like Post-it® Notes or calendars far outweigh those of typing up a list or using organizational apps.

More Memorable
If you’re jotting down brief reminders throughout the day, just the physical action of writing a note can help cement the task in your brain. Sticky notes are extra convenient because you are able to place them anywhere, from the bathroom mirror to your front door, to help you stay on target. With apps, you waste more time setting reminder notifications than if you’d just stick a note nearby.

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Feeling of Accomplishment
Doesn’t it feel amazing to physically cross off tasks you’ve completed? There’s something rewarding about drawing that bold line through one of your to-dos and knowing you’ve been productive. This feeling of accomplishment not only makes you feel great about what you’ve already done, it provides a lot of positive momentum as you move onto other tasks. Of course productivity apps allow users to check items off their lists, but for many, the feeling of reward just isn’t quite achieved by tapping a screen.

Fewer Distractions
Technology may be a blessing, but it’s also a curse. Creating handwritten lists allows you to avoid irrelevant websites, apps, or activities that are known for straying you from the task at hand. The only distraction you may need to resist is the urge to doodle.

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Color Code Priorities
Notepads, Post-its, and other organizational paper products come in all shapes, sizes, and colors to help you stay on task. Small, narrow sticky flags are particularly useful when studying. Match colors with subjects to create a more organized study routine—use green to mark your biology textbook, pink for math, or different colors for subtopics. Students can also check out this article for more information on using Post-it® Notes for school.

Color-coded notes can be used as a brainstorming method to create business charts. They work well when organizing a tangible project management system, since you can color code tasks according to importance and move each note individually to track your progress.

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Learning Experience
If you’re teaching a foreign language to someone young or old, notecards are the way to go. They’re ideal for mastering everyday vocabulary. Stick them on the desk, window, closet, pencil sharpener, and other items throughout the room so your tutee is constantly exposed to the language.

Nevertheless, handwritten notes are ideal for personal organization and productivity. They’re a necessity for adding a unique, personal touch to every office desk and home, and they can help you stay on task and organized throughout your day. Don’t give up on your habit of writing by hand! From studying to sending handwritten notes, show off your style with a little bit of handwritten flair.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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