Pen and Paper: The Benefits of Physical Note Taking

In our digital world, taking physical notes seems as ancient as using a rock and chisel. Since most of our work is done on computers, our notes are already there too. So why would anyone recommend busting out the old pad and pen on the way to your next meeting?

Increased Focus

When taking notes on paper, you tend to be more present in the meeting, jotting down the most important ideas. This allows you to really listen and be a more active participant.

Critical Thinking

Many of us can type as fast as we talk (or as fast as others talk). Because of this, taking notes by computer often turns into transcribing. Rather than processing the information, we take it all down, word for word.

However, if you’re taking notes with pen and paper, you can’t possibly capture every word. To take good notes, you need to think critically about what information will be beneficial to refer back to later.

Memory Recall

A physical connection to your notes helps with information recall. You’ll be able to more easily remember the ideas you decided were important enough to write down while in that team meeting. Having more focus and critical thinking while note taking will help you retain information.

Boost creativity

How many of you are “doodlers?” It turns out doodling doesn’t necessarily distract you from listening—it can often help your mind go to a place where it can better digest and process information. Physically taking notes, and giving your mind space to make physical connections will boost your creativity and retention.

Turn your physical notes into digital ones.

Just because you took your notes with pen and paper doesn’t mean they have to stay that way! Many note taking apps allow you to upload or your physical notes. Just take a photo of the page and save it into a notebook in your favorite app. Platforms like Evernote can even recognize words in your handwriting, making your notes searchable.

The supplies

Last, but not least, one of the best parts of taking physical notes is the fun variety of supplies available! I don’t know about you, but we sure love a good pen and a cute notebook. If you do your best note taking physically, it’s worth it to get the good stuff. Check out Poppin and Rifle Paper Co. for a creative and fun take on office supplies.

Taking notes with pen and paper isn’t a dead skill— and it shouldn’t be! Ditch your laptop in your next meeting and see if these benefits prove true for you.

About the Author

Chelsey Lewis

Chelsey Lewis

An executive assistant and writer, Chelsey Lewis has extensive experience in business operations, customer success, leadership, and training, primarily in the SaaS industry. She has her BA in Strategic Communications from the University of Minnesota and now resides in Northern Montana. If she isn't coordinating chaos, she can be found on her family farm or hiking in Glacier National Park.