How Writing Your Notes Can Help You Remember

It’s typical to see people around you transcribing notes on their tablets, laptops, or phones during lectures, conferences, and meetings. Maybe you’re doing it as well!

And why shouldn’t they? Typing is an extremely effective method of capturing vast volumes of information. Is there any topic in your history class that you can quickly recall, like the topic about Sumerians, or a random topic just like the history of Crocs, etc.? Perhaps, you remembered some important information because you have written down some of it on a piece of paper.

However, taking notes is not the ideal approach if you want to learn the content. According to recent research from neuroscientists and psychologists alike, handwriting is king for successful learning.

It’s to do with how the brain interprets various information inputs. More particular, it depends on whether you digitally transcribe a speaker’s content or capture its essence on paper.

As technology continues to dominate, embracing old-school handwriting may be advantageous. Writing by hand improves your ability to absorb new concepts, remember information, and be more productive – with the added benefit of removing distractions from your device.

Continue reading to find out how handwriting your notes can help you remember critical information.

How Writing Can Assist You in Remembering

When you type, your fine motor skills are used differently than when you’re writing by hand. Using paper and pen provides a richer sensory experience than using a keyboard. Because you’re handwriting each letter, writing with a pen requires more skill than typing.

Things get intriguing when you consider how this difference affects your brain. The combination of tactile sensation, motor abilities, and visual perception found in handwriting supports the natural learning process. According to researchers, reading handwritten writing engages different areas of the brain than reading typed text.

The movements necessary to make each letter are linked to your memory of handwritten words. This could be what makes the memory of what we’ve written stick around in our heads for a little longer. Meanwhile, hitting keys on a keyboard engages fewer parts of the brain, causing us to forget what we’ve typed more quickly.

When you consider how humans initially developed the capacity to write and read, this makes obvious sense. For thousands of years, handwriting meant pressing symbols into clay or carving them into rock, so the process was heavily reliant on the human touch. Our bodies and minds are wired for this type of tactile engagement with the world, yet typing is a far cry from hand-forming each letter.

As a result, you help your brain’s encoding process when you write by hand. Encoding is the process of transferring information to your brain’s hippocampus, where a decision is made to store the knowledge long-term or discard it. When you write something by hand, all of that detailed sensory information increases the likelihood of remembering the knowledge later.

How to Write Memorable Notes

a close up of a person holding a pen and writing on a notebook

To gain these advantages, write things down by hand more frequently. That doesn’t mean you have to write it all down—that would be exhausting.

Instead, use these tips to make you remember what you need.

Maintain a To-Do List

Begin by handwriting your to-do list for the week, day, or month. This basic method allows you to experiment with the advantages of scribbling notes.

You can save your list to your phone’s calendar if you like. However, you may soon discover that you no longer require those notifications.

Another advantage of writing your to-do list by hand is that you won’t be distracted by a constant onslaught of reminders and phone notifications.

Make a List of Your Goals

Another wonderful method to put this principle to the test is to write down your goals. Making a written list of your goals makes them feel more genuine and prioritizes them in your mind. This minor memory boost may make it easier to take the necessary actions to realize your goals.

A premium planner that provides you with both the space and the guidance to grasp and track your goals is a sound investment if you’d like to consolidate all of your planning and writing in one place.

Take Notes on Podcasts and Television Shows

Take notes if you’re watching a show or listening to a podcast to learn something. It’s an excellent technique to ensure that the information is retained.

According to research, college students who take handwritten notes remember the knowledge better than those who do not. This is because, as previously said, writing by hand is slower than typing.

Because students who handwrite notes cannot write as quickly as a speaker speaks, they must synthesize the material and make good decisions about what to write. Even if they never glance at their notes again, they will better understand the subject.

On the other hand, those who type notes may transcribe the lecture instead of processing the information in their words.

You can use this same technique to improve your memory if you’re learning something new from a podcast or show. Even jotting down a few key ideas and words can significantly improve your comprehension.

Limit Yourself to the Essentials

It’s easy to include more information than you need when typing your notes. As handwriting takes longer, it compels you to consider what is truly important to put down.

This critical thinking approach can improve your memory even more and train your brain to focus on the most crucial components of what you’re attempting to remember and learn.

Write Down Important Stuff More Than Once

Is there any stuff on your list that is extremely important? Increase the memory benefits of handwriting by writing it down many times. By restructuring your notes rather than simply copying them, you can combine the advantages of rewriting with the advantages of summarizing and reorganizing.

Writing down important information right before going to bed may also help you remember it better. Taking a few moments before bed to “brain dump” can also be a great way to help your brain switch gears and shift to a more restful state.

Examine Your Notes

When you write important notes by hand, you frequently find that you remember them all without reading them again. However, another advantage of this strategy is that the information is always available when you need it.

As previously stated, reading handwritten text engages more parts of your brain than reading typed text. As a result, rereading your notes can help improve your memory.

Of course, you can download as many programs and apps as you want to assist you in keeping track of ideas, tasks, and information. However, handwriting a few of your notes is so simple and quick that you have nothing to lose by giving it a chance.

So, grab a calendar or a pocket-sized notebook and give it a shot! It has the chance of changing your life much faster than any latest hot app.