Two thoughts collided during my self-reflection this week. It started with an article from David Pierce at the Wall Street Journal about handwriting. Pierce explores the effects of the digital world on our penmanship scribble scrabble. He provides a well-framed set of options for getting the written word into electronic format. But Pierce also mentions the positive effects of handwriting on our ability to learn and remember information. When we type on a computer, we are prone to record each word while with writing we will summarize thoughts.
Then I remembered an article I wrote a few years ago about taking pen and paper to meetings rather than laptops. This is my preference because it helps me focus on the meeting rather than distractions of multitasking on my computer. Business meetings would be far more productive if no one was distracted by their laptops!
What insights can we learn from the value of handwritten notes and focused interactions?
I already use a paper notebook to record thoughts and action items throughout the day. While a pad of paper helps me stay focused at the meeting table, I’m also a keyboard-junkie. I want everything important in electronic format so I can index for searching. I can type faster than I can write and electronic information provides efficiency.
In his article, Pierce discusses taking pictures of hand-written notes and allowing modern technology to recognize the characters for indexing and searching. I love the simplicity of this solution because it removes logistical challenges with writing electronically. It also works for meeting content on whiteboards.
When I write, I prefer print over cursive. I don’t recall when I made that change, but I remember writing in cursive during high-school to capture notes faster. Print is better for optical character recognition software and gives clarity and precision to my documents. Maybe i’m slower writing print. But it’s legible and precise.
Find time to wrestle with the concepts of note taking, productivity, handwriting if you haven’t already. You might discover some hidden insights about yourself.
Onward and upward!