Chaos in your thoughts? Take notes or sketch by hand
We barely just covered task and project management tools, immensely useful when organizing your projects and tasks. But what if you don’t even know how to start a task? If you have no idea, too many ideas and can’t focus on just one, or if you find it difficult to organize your many thoughts?
Now’s the time to let the computer cool off. Grab a notebook, a comfortable pen and churn out every idea, every sketch, every phrase you can come up with.
Each medium works best with a few select activities and writing and sketching by hand can help your work process much better than typing at the computer or diving straight into Photoshop.
Handwriting or sketching boosts your creativity
There’s a connection between our finger movements and things happening in our brains – studies have been made showing that writing by hand activates wide regions in the brain involved in memory, thinking and language that typing on the keyboard. Nothing stands between the individual and the idea, the hand is an extension of the person and there are no hoops to jump through (keyboard, user interface, etc.), so the ideas flow naturally.
Another study was made on designers and how their creative process works when they have to use only digital media, or digital media along with traditional media. The results showed that designers who used the pen and paper to sketch and improve on a design changed their goals and intentions more often than the others – that’s because putting a design or paper or copying on paper triggers new ways of seeing things and leads to new ideas or new directions.
Putting things on paper makes ideas stick
When solving problems, we use both internal representations, information stored in our brains, as well as external representations, recorded on paper, on the computer or another medium. Once you come up with an idea or an interesting thought, the ways you can process and improve it (restructure the information) are limited as thoughts vanish very quickly, making restructuring difficult to do just in your head. Thinking an idea over and over in your head may lead to results, but the brain tends to forget them once your mind drifts to other possibilities.
This is where pen and paper come in – putting the thought on paper as well as the following changes and thoughts makes restructuring much easier and turns on the creativity faucet.
It helps you stay focused
Writing or sketching on paper can help slow down and properly manage a thought process. Writing is usually slower than typing for most of us who type at a computer every day, and the time it takes to write down an idea is then dedicated only to that idea. When you’re putting pen on paper, you’re completely concentrated on the subject.
It also makes you think twice about procrastinating – writing on a keyboard makes it too easy to just push Alt+Tab and check out reddit or Facebook, while when you’re writing on a notepad, switching to the laptop takes a tiny bit more effort, enough to have you rethink the decision to do something else.
Whether you’re looking for ideas to promote your business, working on a design, writing an article or a story, grabbing a notebook and writing your thoughts as they come to you will help spark your creativity and make you see new paths to take.
About the Author
Copywriter and graphic designer with a creative spirit and a good disposition. Just don't take her Kindle and comic books away.