Are you feeling overwhelmed by life? Do you have a lot of things to do but are not getting much done? Are you having difficulty to organize your thoughts, define your goals, plan your activities?
We are here with an all-in-one solution: write it down to make it happen. It’s just as simple (and complicated) as that. By the end of this article, you will be a firm believer in the power of writing!
We are going to talk about the point of writing things down and its benefits. And this isn’t coming from a person bored on the weekend who decides to whip up their laptop and give random advice. Nope. This is going to be science-based advice backed with tons of research.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
The Importance of Writing Things Down
We are living in a digital world, where people are connected almost 100% of the time. According to Global Digital 2019 Report, on average, the world’s internet users spend 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of distractions. I don’t know about you, but I easily get overwhelmed and lose focus, if I am not carefully.
Please, don’t get me wrong, my background is Information Technology. It is unbelievable all we can do in the digital world, all the services and facilities it provides to us. We can’t imagine a life without it all anymore.
So, no… I am not talking about giving up your laptop, mobile phone and go back to the stone age. I am talking about BALANCE. I am talking about the POWER AND BENEFITS OF WRITING THINGS DOWN to make it happen.
When you write things down you concentrate more, you focus more, you think better, you organize your ideas in a better way, you can see and feel things differently. Have you ever tried to write your activities down? How did you feel? Were you relieved and less stressed? That’s just one example.
Personally, I love writing. I write down everything, including my life plan, my goals, my activities, my daily gratitude….. it really helps me to think better and even get better solutions for my daily challenges, or just put my thoughts in my journal when I am anxious or stressed. When you organize your ideas in a paper you bring order to your mind and this is a great benefit by itself. But let see what science have to say about it. Come with me…
4 Science-Based Benefits of Handwriting
There are many scientific studies indicating the high benefits of writing things down and tons of information supporting it that goes way beyond this post but lets diving in and see what some of those studies says and what it can do for you.
#Benefit 1 – Increase brain activity, learning and memory process
A study published in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), carried out in adults and children, suggests that “the mastery of handwriting is based on the involvement of a network of brain structures whose involvement and inter-connection are specific to writing”. That is, the writing process activates specific parts of our brain. This study also connects handwriting with other skills like reading. It anticipates what can change in the writing/reading network if handwriting is replaced by typing teaching at school and what would be the impact of this change in the next generations.
Other studies done by Virginia Berninger (2012, 2013), who studies the effect of handwriting on the human brain, showed that children who composed text by hand, produce more words and more quickly, and on top of that, they also generate ideas more easily. When it comes to adults, we not only process new information better but we commit them to memory much better. There are tons of other studies supporting this link between writing and memory retention. Simply putting, when you write down notes, you learn more and you can remember better what you have learned.
#Benefit 2 – Boost productivity, focus and Time Management
You might be tired of hearing this but it’s true. Nothing helps you to be more productivity and manage your time better as planning does. It’s safe to say that without proper planning your time will fly. When you don’t know about the tasks that you must get done during the day, you will be distracted. You will procrastinate. You will put off things for the next day. It’s inevitable. However, if you plan it out, you can hold the wings of time in your hands and make it do your bidding.
It gets even better when you write your activities down. When you do it you are more committed to get things done. More than that, you’ll get them done on time. You will know what to expect, what deadlines you need to meet, focus on one activity at the time and stay up to date with everything else.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, managers waste 90% of their time due to a lack of good time management, while fifteen minutes of planning can save up to an hour of execution time. Definitely, as confirmed by this recent study, having a written action plan can help to increase productivity, have more focus and get more things done.
But, is using a written daily planner the magic solution to getting everything done? No, it really isn’t. At the end of the day, you are the one who is going to be doing things. A daily planner will just organize your time and tell you about your priorities but you have to put the work in.
#Benefit 3 – Stress Relief and Health Benefits
Now, you may raise your eyebrow at this one. Health benefits? But hear me out first.
Often, we feel stressed when we are overwhelmed. When you feel like too much is going on, or you have a lot on your plate, you are bound to feel stressed. That’s where writing things down comes in.
When you plan out your day, your mind will know that there is enough time for everything. You won’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you have to do. Instead, you will feel organized as you tick of the tasks one by one. More than that, when you write things down you free your mind, reduce stress and improve your sleep, which has tons of good consequences by itself.
A study from Wake Forest University shows that writing tasks down can relieve some anxiety, and people can minimize negative emotional reactions, as per this other study in Personality and Individual Differences.
It’s also a good practice to keep a journal and write down your thoughts, your feelings. As you do so, you are allocating time for yourself, to calm down, to organize your thoughts or simply be with yourself.
#Benefit 4 – Help to achieve your goals
In an interesting article published by Forbes, Mark Murphy states that “Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success, and people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t”.
Isn’t’ that amazing, just by writing your goal down! Isn’t it worth of trying?
There many other great teachers that support this ideal, like Bob Proctor. He has been teaching it for years, and was from him that I got into this habit of writing my goal down every single day. Of course, there are other factors involved in achieving your goal than just write it down, but in my opinion it does help. No doubt about that.
So..what Paper Planner can do for you?
Now that I’ve convinced you about the importance of writing things down, you might be asking should I get my paper planner right away and totally forget my phone?
There is no simple answer to this. Everyone has their own preferences. Many people like to use their phones to plan their day. But, there is no denying that the age-old method of paper planning has its benefits.
I always liked to write things in a paper/planner. However, there was a time when I basically used to do it all in my phone. Then I realized I had a lot of notes all over the place. I couldn’t have a clear picture of my plans, activities and was neglecting my life plan. I switched to paper planners. I still use digital for quick notes that I remember on the go but they go straight to my plan.
You will be less distracted and much more focused and organized.
The ultimate goal of planning is to be less distracted so that you can focus on your goals. When you’re using a digital planner, you are bound to get distracted by dings and buzzes on your phone.
While it isn’t wrong to use a digital planner, it can certainly ruin the results. It will distract you by a thousand things and you may end up wasting time.
You will remember things better.
When you write things down, your brain is focused. A study by the Dominican University of California found that people who write things down are 33% more likely to actually do them as compared to others.
So, chances are, that you may not even have to look back to your planner as you will remember most of the tasks you wrote down.
You will be more productive
You know exactly how your daily is going to be like. You know what you have to do. You will be less anxious and much more focused, tackling one task at the time. It will automatically increase your productivity. In the end of the day you will realize how much you got done.
Writing things down in a daily planner will also help in record keeping. You can keep track of your appointments, tasks, and even expenses on your daily planner.
If you forgot when your last dentist’s appointment was, just flip through your daily planner. Therefore, you can’t undermine the importance of writing things down.
“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you don’t have a goal. You just have a wish.” – Steve Maraboli.
So, think again! Do you want to have a concrete goal or just a wish?
Now that you know about the importance of writing things down, do try it out. It’s very simple: write it to make it happen, check it off when it happens! Check out our Essential Planner Tool Kit to get inspired.