When was the last time you sat down to compose something on paper, rather than the computer or your iPad? In fact, writing by hand boosts neural activity that can help you learn faster and be more creative.

An article in the Wall Street Journal Online cites research that shows that both adults and children learn more effectively by hand writing versus keyboarding. What are the implications for work?

Take hand-written notes in meetings. You’ll retain more, and the act of handwriting can help you make connections that you otherwise would not. The outcome is more creative brainpower to address problems.

Doodle. A pen in your hand will promote drawing on your paper. Rather than being inattentive, doodlers actually retain 29% more information about what happened in the meetings. Doodling actually gives you just enough cognitive stimulation to prevent you from zoning out completely.

Start with hand-writing. If you’re tasked with writing something at work, don’t just start tapping away at the keyboard. Get out a piece of paper and start writing, drawing pictures and making connections. The beauty of paper is that you can draw arrows to show relationships, and do other non-linear thinking/notations. Once you do sit down at the keyboard, your written work will be a more accurate representation of the complexity and interconnections within your subject.

Journal. Here’s your excuse to invest in an attractive place to keep your work notes and general thoughts. Regular journaling has been shown to have many physical and psychological benefits, including stress reduction and a strengthened immune system. Written expression of your feelings, perspectives and thoughts can help you understand yourself better, solve problems and resolve long-standing issues.

The pen may be mightier than the sword.  It’s also a powerful weapon in your quest to be productive and healthy!

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