Young Upstarts

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Pen And Paper vs. Keyboard And Screen: Which Is Better?

Today’s technologies are all supposed to make our lives better, easier, safer. But one lost art form that has been proven to outperform innovation is old-fashioned handwriting. Writing with pen and paper probably seems as archaic as *69 or hieroglyphics… “With Google iCloud calendar right on my phone, why would I need to carry a planner?” “Typing is so quick. Won’t I miss something by writing everything down?”

If you’re attached to your keyboard and screen, check out these reasons for why handwriting is making a comeback.

It’s a Practical Skill Not to Go Extinct.

Learning to write is a practical skill for children to learn, and handwriting is a note-taking technique for adults not to forget. Research has found that children who wrote in cursive expressed more ideas and engaged the brain more deeply. For adults, it’s no different. Forming words with our pens can help increase brain activity, heighten retention, improve thought organization and promote idea generation. Rather than quickly typing words you hear, you’re slowly shaping letters, which engages your brain with deeper comprehension and leaves a stronger cognitive imprint.

You’re Able to Process Information Better.

One of the main differences between typing notes and writing notes longhand is that writing helps you process information. A study published in Psychological Science found that writing forces you to be more selective, which adds a layer of processing, according to NPR. As you jot down what you hear as most important, you reframe the information in your own words and form context — rather than just transcribing info verbatim. If you meet with a client for instance, you may pay attention more and listen more closely to what’s discussed when you have to choose what to write down. On the other hand, typing just turns into mindless note taking.

Bringing Pen & Paper Back.

Pen and paper is shown to be more effective than a keyboard for capturing information; but pen and paper can be better for creativity and personal agendas as well. Handwriting to-do lists, ideas, goals and even your dreams creates a difference experience than typing work emails and text messages. Use a specialty notebook, like Moleskine, and you will develop a relationship with its pages. Page space becomes home for greater creativity, reflection and brainstorming. Pen and paper can also reduce screen time and improve your focus. Distractions like social media sites are a click away on your laptop or tablet.

The Best of Both Worlds.

There is a happy medium though: digitally handwriting your notes with a smart pen on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note8. You still get the benefits of handwriting, plus the advantages of using digital technologies. Easily save/upload your notes to the cloud and sync documents across devices for easy access. It’s the eco-friendlier option, saves space and offers slick features and organizational tools. Use digital bookmarks, type in the search bar to locate specific notes, move and resize items, highlight sections and snap pictures of a presentation. These can make reviewing and revising a more engaging experience (and you’ll never run out of paper).

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preferences and what works best for you. If you’re a tech junkie, experiment with pen and paper and step (err, write) outside your comfort zone! For example, you might just discover that handwriting (with a pen or smart pen) can help you learn better and retain more information at a speaker event or create innovative ideas during a collaborative brainstorming session. Be open to to handwriting and activate your brain on a different level, from personal, cathartic journaling to setting business goals.


Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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