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6 Times When Using A Pen Is Better Than Using A Keyboard

6 Times When Using A Pen Is Better Than Using A Keyboard

Even in technology-driven 2014, there are still a lot of benefits to doing things manually. In particular, using a pen and writing in a notebook can often prove to be a better way to get down ideas or information than using a keyboard on a computer or tablet. For all the software out there to make writing simpler and more efficient, sometimes you can’t beat the tools that have been used since cavemen were carving on walls. For first drafts, using handwriting is often superior to even the most advanced word processor. Here are six situations where using a pen is superior to using a keyboard.

1. Brainstorming

Your flurry of ideas shouldn’t be held back by the constraints of a word processor. Writing free-form is much more flexible than typing in something like Microsoft Word; it allows you to put all of your thoughts onto the page in whatever form those ideas come to you. If you’re having a burst of inspiration your big ideas probably won’t come in a linear order, so why should you write them in one?

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2. Making Quick Mind Maps

Mind maps are an awesome way to organize information visually. They let you make connections that you wouldn’t have made otherwise and allow you to branch out a simple concept into a series of sub-categories and sub-sub-categories. Mind maps can be made on a computer, but are much more effective when they’re made by hand because adding a new concept is as easy as drawing an oval.

3. Sketching

Apps like Paper are great at replicating the drawing experience on a tablet, but they’re still not as effective as simply sketching with pen and paper. If you have an idea you can easily scribble it into your notebook to explain it to someone, and you’re also able to tear out the page and hand it to them right then and there. Additionally, even with popular apps like Notability available, there’s no way to draw and take notes on the same document that’s as legible and intuitive as plain, old pen and paper.

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4. Annotating

Do you know how to make a quick annotation in a word processor? Probably not. Meanwhile, it’s extremely easy in a notebook; just put an asterisk (*) after the thing that needs annotating and include the annotation at the bottom of that page. If you’re writing the draft that you’re going to be turning in to your editor or professor you’ll probably want to make it professional, but if you’re just jotting down a first or even second draft, then using a pen and notebook is a better option.

5. Tracking Your Changes

Having Track Changes on while you’re writing something in Microsoft Word is distracting. Every time you delete a word, or even just a letter, the page gets more cluttered, but it’s the only way you can keep a record of what you’re changing as you’re writing. Know what you can do using a pen that’s not nearly as distracting? Cross out words or letters as you write in a notebook.

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6. Learning as You Write

A lot of people take furious notes in the classroom but don’t actually study those notes. If that’s the case, the only chance they have at not failing their tests is if they wrote those notes by hand. When typing you’re just transcribing what your teachers or professors are saying, not pausing long enough to really consider the meaning of the words. When you’re using a pen, the words you’re hearing and writing have just enough time to gestate in your head so that you’re actually learning during the lecture. When Scientific American covered the subject, the magazine cited how handwriting requires different kinds of cognitive processing than typing on a computer. Even science agrees that, at times, the best technology for writing is a pen rather than a keyboard.

Featured photo credit: Chris Chapman via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

1. Purge Your Office

De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

2. Gather and Redistribute

Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

3. Establish Work “Zones”

Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

4. Close Proximity

Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

5. Get a Good Labeler

Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

6. Revise Your Filing System

As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

  • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
  • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
  • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
  • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
  • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
  • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
  • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

7. Clear off Your Desk

Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

8. Organize your Desktop

Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

9. Organize Your Drawers

Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

10. Separate Inboxes

If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

11. Clear Your Piles

Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

12. Sort Mails

Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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13. Assign Discard Dates

You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

14. Filter Your Emails

Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

15. Straighten Your Desk

At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

Bottom Line

Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

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Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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