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

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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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More by this author

Matt OKeefe

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

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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How to Use Travel Time Effectively

Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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1. Take Your Time Getting There

As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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2. Go Gadget-Free

This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

3. Reflect and Prepare

Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

Conclusion

Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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