A long long time ago... waaaaaayyyyyy back in the 70' and 80's most of us actually wrote things by hand: letters and notes, cards and assignments. The more more fancy or formal types of communication were left to the professionals, who could whip up a 10 page document on their trusty typewriters at a blistering 140 words per minute. It was only last week in a meeting, someone saw me writing, taking notes - in an actual notebook. He chuckled and thought it so unusual he had to pass his thoughts on. 'I cant' remember the last time I wrote something down' he murmured as he looked on at me bemused, as if I was a relic from the past. The smile lingered on his face as he hunted and dived for the keys on his MacBook. 'Do you type it up later?' he enquired.
I take pleasure in writing, in fact I handwrite in a journal every day and not just to capture thoughts and moments in life, but because the act of writing, handwriting, sparks my brain, my thoughts, my ideas.
It's true! Here are three things you probably didn't know about why you should be ditching your computer to do your planning.
1. Handwriting increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain. A study undertaken by the Indiana University revealed the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way. Their findings are supported by high-tech magnetic resonance imaging which indeed shows that low-tech writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, much like meditation. So get writing, it will spark areas of the brain and actually help calm you.
2. Handwriting helps us learn and can sharpen the brain. Writing is good for keeping one’s gray matter sharp Writing can not only keep your brain sharp, it can even influence how we think! Studies show that writing can make us think “more positively”. Sequential hand movements, like those used in handwriting, activate large regions of the brain responsible for thinking, language, healing and working memory. So get out that pen and start sharpening your thoughts. Your plan will become more focused and you'll be more positive!
3. Handwriting forces us to slow down. This is an often-overlooked benefit of writing by hand. Instead of hunching over a backlit keyboard, and hunting for keys, the act of writing forces us to slow down and enjoy the moment. Writing rests the brain, potentially sparking creativity, according to neuroscientist Dr. Claudia Aguirre.
So ditch the keyboard and take the time to write your plan by hand. You might be surprised at the creativity that begins to flow!