During lessons and studying do you type or write your notes? After learning the benefits of writing notes by hand, I decided to make a switch to handwritten notes. Below are 10 benefits to write your notes by hand.
10 Benefits of writing notes by hand:
- Increases your ability to focus
- Increases your comprehension
- You will be able to understand and process more information
- Improves your memory
- Inspire your creativity
- Engages your mind
- Extend your attention span
- Improves your organisation of information
- Improves your prioritizing skills
- Provides a condensed document for study
Knowing the benefits of writing your notes helps. It will keep you motivated in picking up the skill of handwriting your notes. Read on to find out how each benefit can be developed by handwriting your notes.
1. Increases your ability to focus
When we write on our computer, there are many distractions that could take our attention away from note-taking. We can be distracted by incoming emails or opened internet tabs.
The act of handwriting our notes will take us away from our computer into a different space. This new space could be an empty table. A distraction free environment that focuses our attention.
Also, the requirement of handwriting itself forces us to focus, where we will have to use muscular effort to pen each word. In contrast, typing on a computer is a quick hit of a key for each alphabet, which has a lower level of effort than penning each word.
To put it simply, let’s take a leap of imagination here. You can imagine the careful muscular action of handwriting is like training in any sports. The repetitive action in sports demands a large effort and brain power to get right. This requires immense focus.
A new distraction free environment and handwriting requirements will help you increase your ability to focus. This will happen slowly at first, and your ability to focus will increase, as you get used to handwriting in a non-distracting environment.
2. Increases your comprehension
Ever felt like you cannot remember what you have just typed? This is a common occurrence. Many of us can type out notes faster than we can write by hand. We tend to take advantage of our speed of typing to write longer notes.
Pencil or Pen?
Writing longer notes might not directly equal better comprehension of the materials studied. This is where handwriting notes will help.
When we write by hand we cannot write as fast as our typing. This forces us to slow down and spend more comprehending our study materials. Overtime, the increased time spent carefully thinking about our study as we write helps to improve our comprehension.
3. You will be able to understand and process more information
Building on the (1) improvement in your ability to focus, as you practice more handwriting of notes, you will trained enough mental energy and sharpness to study content at a deeper level. Your capacity to process will also be greatly expanded.
4. Improves your memory
Writing notes by hand requires you to hold the ideas you are learning longer in your mind, as handwriting of your notes will take longer than typing. This trains your short-term and long-term memory.
The more you use your memory, the better it will get. That’s utilized greatly during note-taking by hand.
5. Inspire your creativity
Typing can be a dull experience that does not have much room for creativity. The words when typed appear perfectly on screen, and deviation from the rigidness of words can be difficult on a computer.
This is where writing by hand shines in unleashing your creativity.
The unrestricted freedom of penning words, diagrams, or doodles provide an avenue to be creative during your note-taking. For example, you might be inspired while looking at your study materials to make an interesting diagram to illustrate the concept studied. To do so, you might be discourage to do it on the computer, as it is a clumsy process even with drawing applications unless you own a touch-screen tablet and stylus.
Take the opportunity of unrestricted freedom during your handwritten note-taking session to be creative. Creative notes can also make revising them later interesting to look at. Improving your ability to study.
6. Engages your mind
As explained above, writing notes by hand demands greater mental and muscular effort. This will engage more parts of the brain. This engages your mind more than typing.
7. Extend your attention span
Handwriting requires you to pay more attention, as it will take both mental and muscular focus. Like any skill, with more practice, you will become more adept at it. Overtime, you will be able to focus longer will lengthen.
8. Improves your organisation of information
Developing organisation skills is an important skill in learning. Hand writing notes encourage you to slow down and plan your notes, so as to not waste your effort as you write them down.
You will be better able to take the time to think about the main ideas and the related sub-ideas of the subject studied.
9. Improves your prioritizing skills
Unlike typing, writing notes by hand effectively command a certain amount of efficient thinking. You will have to prioritize the information during note-taking. You will not have the same energy to write everything down as when you type.
Prioritizing will include deciding the keywords to an idea or main idea presented, and writing it down instead of the whole idea or elaboration in a full sentence or paragraph. This can be challenging for you if you’re used to typing out complete sentence to convey an idea.
Prioritizing is a skill that grows out of necessity if you want to write your notes effectively by hand. As your hand writing stamina improves, your prioritizing skills will too.
10. Provides a condensed document for study
Continuing from your improved prioritizing skills, you will have learned to write your notes by hand effectively with the key ideas or main ideas. These notes will definitely be much more condensed as your study materials.
At the end, if you train yourself to write your notes by hand, you will have a condensed document for your study. This will help with your exam revision or quick reference during classes.
Start Note-taking by Hand
Writing notes by hand is a skill. Like all skill, it takes time to see the benefits and efficiency of note-taking by hand.
Start small by writing notes by hand for a selected few classes. Get into the habit of handwriting your notes effectively first. Once you’ve acquired the muscular endurance of handwriting and note-taking efficiency, begin using note-taking by hand for other classes.
To establish a habit of taking notes by hand, you can make it a ubiquitous. Bring a notebook and pen with you wherever you go. With every opportunity hand write notes into your notebook.
By consistently building note-taking by hand into your daily life, you will get good at the habit.
Compare & Decide if Taking Notes by Hand is for you
Beside the top 10 benefits of taking notes by hand, you might want to consider more factors involved. These will better help you decide if note-taking by hand is for you.
Below is a summarized table comparing the advantages and disadvantages of taking notes by hand and computer.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Note-Taking by Hand
|Increases your ability to focus||Missing out on some details especially when you’re too focused on writing down information|
|You can easily recall or retain details and understand it better by taking notes manually||Write fast enough to keep up with the speaker|
|Organizing and sorting out information according to your preferences and style||Bad handwriting|
|Small notebook and pen is handy and you can take notes whenever ideas pop up||Paper can easily be crumpled and messy|
|Writing notes by hand is personal and special to someone you are handing it to||Pain in your hand occurs when writing loads of information|
|Cheap and easy accessibility of the resources||Piled up papers is unattractive to the eye|
|Note taking customization is unlimited and it makes you creative in a way like doodles||Easy to lose or misplace notes|
|Automatically preserves the information written down||Mostly needs a flat surface to place the paper|
|Person’s handwriting is unique like his/her signature||Not suitable when there is no sufficient light|
|Easier to write equations and formulas||Prone to spelling error|
Advantages & Disadvantages of Note-Taking by Computer
|Sharing or sending notes to others is much convenient||Occupies too much space specially when you need to travel|
|Autocorrect spelling and grammar||Exposure to blue light|
|On average typing is faster than handwriting,||Software compatibility problems|
|Copy and paste||Distracting when using it online|
|You can add links in your notes as references||Mindless typing and without comprehension|
|Almost unlimited pages to write on||Need battery or electricity|
|Can save in online storage and can access anywhere using the internet||Computer can accidentally shut down without saving the documents|
|Easy to translate to different language||Expensive to buy computer as compare to pen and paper|
|Can erase or edit text without messing up the pages||Will take time writing when drawings, charts or formulas are involved in notes|
|Shortcut key for finding and replacing specific word||Too much options can make you confuse sometimes especially when formatting your notes|
Writing notes by hand has many benefits to the mind and study process. For a person who has not written much notes by hand it might be a challenging experience to complete in a timely and effective manner. While so, the good news is that handwriting your notes is like any skill and will improve with time.
Example of an effective note-taking system? The cornell note-taking system is a structured note-taking format that takes into account the importance of condense note-taking and reviewing of notes. Using the cornell note-taking system, a person could expect to be encouraged to take more concise notes and review them in a systematic process.
Why is it important to take notes? Note-taking helps to condense large chunk of knowledge into a quick and easy to reference document. This helps students to revise their educational content effectively. For business, note-taking provides a quick way to write down important points for future reference.