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The Write Way to Remember: The Power of Writing Things Down

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In this Article:

    1. The Power of Writing Things Down
    2. Encoding
    3. Writing it Down vs. Using Your Laptop
    4. Top Benefits of Writing Things Down
    5. Why Do I Have to Write Things Down to Remember?
    6. How Many Times Should You Write Something to Remember it?
    7. Memory Lane
    8. Write Down Your Goals
    9. How Can You Memorize Faster?

Most of us forget just to write things down. Living in the age of speed means that we are usually too busy, so we just type on our phones. Sometimes we’re merely reckless, and we think we’ll remember things. However, studies show that we shouldn’t underestimate the power of writing things down. Yes, we’re referring to the old-school way of using a pen and paper to write things down. When was the last time you used it?

The Power of Writing Things Down

Research published in Psychological Science shows how writing by hand has far more advantages than writing notes on your laptop or tablet. The scientists tested how taking notes impacts learning, and it’s something worth keeping in mind.

One of the psychologists emphasizes that people who write by hand process the information better. When you type on your laptop or on another device, you usually write down more, but end up remembering less. This obviously doesn’t only apply to students. Everyone can focus much better in this way. This also significantly contributes to a better memory. The researcher emphasizes the fact that this extra processing is the thing that benefits you the most. Writing things down engages encoding. But what does this actually mean?

Encoding

Basically, you store the information in a location in your brain that you can easily access and review. Encoding refers to the process of moving information to the brain for analysis. Involving your hands boosts this process and more information gets stored in the long-term memory. Therefore, you will have better chances of remembering something if you engage more in storing it by taking your time to write it down. This will also improve recalling essential information. Studies show that you will be more productive and effective as you can focus on the really important things. This applies not only when it comes to your goals, but also when it comes to everyday stuff.

Writing It Down vs. Using your Laptop

One of the psychologists emphasizes that people who write by hand process the information better. When you type on your laptop or on another device, you usually write down more, but end up remembering less.

“In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand,” concluded the researchers.

This obviously doesn’t only apply to students. Everyone can focus much better in this way. This also significantly contributes to better memory. The researcher emphasizes the fact that this extra processing is the thing that benefits you the most. Handwriting engages encoding. But what does this actually mean?

Top Benefits for Writing Things Down

Beyond helping us increase instances of remembering things, the power of writing things down also carries over to countless areas of our life, including:

  • Gives you clarity and focus
  • Helps you prevent procrastination
  • Improves your ability to understand complex concepts
  • Motivates thinking and sharpens your thoughts
  • Improves your long-term focus

According to Michael Lebouf, a former management professor at the University of New Orleans, writing down automatically forces you to devote your full attention to them. “A pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools,” he adds.

Why Do I Have to Write Things Down to Remember?

It bottles down to encoding. Basically, you store information in a location in your brain that you can easily access and review. Encoding refers to the process of moving information to the mind for analysis. Involving your hands boosts this process, and more information gets stored in the long-term memory. Therefore, you will have better chances of remembering something if you engage more in saving it by taking the time to write it down.

This will also improve recalling essential information. Studies show that you will be more productive and useful as you can focus on the really important things. This applies not only when it comes to your goals, but also when it comes to everyday stuff.

How Many Times Should You Write Something to Remember It?

As children, we’re often tasked with writing and re-writing the same word over and over again until we remembered how to write it correctly. While that concept won’t necessarily be productive today, repetition is vital when it comes to remembering things.

Some studies suggest the magic number to remember something is seven repetitions. However, it all depends on your learning strategies and what works for you. Some people need to write it twice or ten times before they can remember it. Keep experimenting to see what works best for you.

Memory Lane

Neuropsychologists proved that people memorize the material they created versus material that they only read. Just think how you remember your own jokes better than the ones you hear. First, you create a picture in your mind containing the information. Then you think about the image again to put it down on paper. You process the information twice, and this helps you seal everything better in your mind.

Write Down Your Goals

If you have some goals that you want to accomplish, don’t skip writing them down. Researchers noticed that there is a huge difference between people who write their goals on a simple piece of paper and the ones who don’t.

It might seem surprising, but the ones who describe their goals in writing are much more likely to fulfill them (from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely). Currently, there are tablet technologies that get the best of both worlds. You have your gadget nearby, and you can write by hand as well.

However, if you don’t have something like this on your device, just keep a good old pen and paper handy. It can make a world of difference for your goals, daily chores, or whatever else you’d like to remember. Sometimes the easy ways really are the best.

How Can You Memorize Faster?

If you’re looking to improve your memory’s ability to retain information faster, try to keep your mind working at its sharpest. You could try brain training apps, for example, to help stimulate your senses and keep your brain young. Also, to improve your memory, you should pick up your fitness routine, which, according to science, can help improve brainpower.

Even if you’re only trying to remember people’s names, there are memory tips you can use to achieve that. Remember, whether you try daily brain exercises, or limit just to writing down your notes, it takes trial and error to find what works best for you.

Sources

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Matt
GR8NESS Writer
Matt is a GR8NESS contributing writer on such subjects as pets, CBD, pain relief, sexual health, time management, and family & parenting. When he's not placed in the awkward position of referring to himself in the third person, Matt tries to keep two Dachshunds, an 18-year old daughter, and one wife blissfully happy but not necessarily in that order.
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