Why does putting information on paper help you remember things better?

If you’re looking to keep things organized, there are dozens of mobile apps that can help you remember the important things in life. But what if the best way to memorize them is simply to write them down?

Many studies have shown that writing down is indeed the solution to help remember things better. While everyone will have a different way of taking notes and making to-do lists, our brains always retain information better after writing it down. And that’s why sometimes you should forget about modern technology, just a notebook and a pen is enough.

But why does writing everything down affect your brain in such a positive way?

Why does putting information on paper help you remember things better?
Using pen and paper is a more immersive experience than touching a keyboard.

When you type, you use motor skills in a much more limited way than when you write with your hands. Using pen and paper is a more immersive experience than touching a keyboard. Since you create each character with your own hands, it is obvious that the act of writing requires more dexterity than typing with your hands.

When you learn the impact this difference has on your brain, things get much more interesting. Handwriting is a combination of motor skills, touch, and visual perception – all of which enhance the natural learning process of the human brain .

Researchers at Norway’s Center for Research in Learning Environment and Behavior in Education found that reading handwriting activates different regions of the brain compared to reading typed letters.

Your ability to memorize handwritten notes is related to the movements required to write each character. Perhaps this is what helps the memory of what we have written down in the brain a little longer. Meanwhile, pressing buttons on the keyboard activates fewer areas of the brain, so we tend to forget what we typed faster.

The above makes perfect sense if you study the process by which people first develop reading and writing skills. This process is closely related to physical manipulation, as thousands of years ago we “handwritten” by carving symbols into stone, or pressing on blocks of clay. Our minds and bodies are prepared for this type of physical interaction with the world around us. But typing is completely different from using your hands to create the shape of each individual character.

Thus, when you write by hand, you are providing “stimulant drugs” to speed up the brain’s encoding process. “Encoding” here refers to the process of sending information to a part of your brain called the “hippocampus,” which is where the decision is made whether to store the information for the long term or to forget it. If you write something by hand, the chances of that information being stored for later reuse increase.

In short, writing by hand forces your brain to process information in a more detailed way, helping you to successfully load information into memory.

To get the most out of handwriting, all you need is to write regularly. However, that doesn’t mean you have to write everything down – it takes a lot of work!

Instead, use the tips below to help you remember what you really need to remember.

First, you should start by writing down a to-do list for the day, week, or month. This simple tactic allows you to experiment with the benefits of handwritten notes.

You can back up your list on your phone’s calendar app if you’d like. However, you will soon realize that you no longer need those notifications.

Why does putting information on paper help you remember things better?
Make a to-do list for the day, week, or month.

Another benefit of writing down a to-do list is not being distracted by a flurry of notifications or reminders on your phone.

Another great way to experiment is to write down your goals. Having a list of things you want to achieve will make them more realistic, and help them prioritize your brain.

Writing down the goals you want to achieve also makes it easier for you to plan the steps needed to make your dreams come true.

As you type notes, it’s easy to put in more information than you need. Because handwriting takes longer, you’re forced to think seriously about what’s really worth writing.

And that serious thought process can boost your memory even further.

If you usually learn through listening to podcasts or watching TV shows, take some notes – it’s a great way to make sure the information you learn doesn’t “drift” away.

Research shows that college students who have the habit of taking notes by hand will remember information better than students who do not. This is because, as mentioned above, handwriting is always slower than typing.

Students who write by hand certainly can’t write as fast as their lecturers speak, so they must find ways to “settle” information and make wise choices about what to write. As a result, they will gain more useful knowledge about the subject – even if they never review their notes!

Meanwhile, students who typed notes on the keyboard were probably just transcribing what the teacher said, rather than processing the information they heard into their own words.

If you’re trying to learn something new from podcasts or TV shows, you can use the same tactic to increase your retention. Rewriting just a few basic words and ideas can dramatically improve your comprehension.

Is there something on your list that really matters? Maximize the mnemonic benefits of handwriting by writing it down several times.

Writing important things right before you go to bed will also help you retain that information better.

When you write down important notes, you will find yourself remembering them without having to reread your notes. One benefit of this tactic, however, is that the information you write down will always be there when you need it.

As mentioned above, even reading handwritten content requires more parts of the brain than reading typed content. Therefore, rereading notes can also strengthen your memory.

Of course, you can download all the apps and programs that help you keep track of tasks, ideas, and information. But, jotting down a few notes is quick and easy – there’s little you can do to try it. Get a little notebook, or a calendar, and give it a go.

That can change your life faster than any app on your computer or phone.