Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The Pen and Paper Revolution: Why this old-fashioned way of taking notes is still as good as new! [Friday: Mindfulness by Miles]

September 14, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Happy Friday! 

We’re so excited to share with you the topic for today’s “Mindfulness by Miles!” 

In these articles, we talk about various health and mindfulness tips with the hope that these will encourage you to enhance the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of your life. 

Today, we’ll focus on the art of handwritten note-taking. 

Continue reading to learn the importance of taking down notes through writing and how your mind can benefit from this activity. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Mindfulness by Miles  

In today’s digital age where keyboards and touchscreens have become a dominant part of people’s lives, the simple act of taking notes by hand seems almost antiquated. 

Some individuals have traded the traditional pen and paper for sleek laptops and tablets, believing that typing is more efficient and convenient. 

It’s true, though. Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners, also personally thinks that typing down notes instead of writing them down is faster and easier. However, he says there’s a reason why note-taking by hand is still advocated by some educators and educational institutions until today. 

… and while he believes digital note-taking is more convenient, he also agrees that handwritten note-taking has its own cognitive benefits. 

In this article, we’ll explore the enduring importance of this lost art, demonstrating that sometimes, the old-fashioned ways are still good. 

Reliving the Magic of Handwritten Note-Taking 

Photo from MindMeister

According to an article from the BBC, researchers have found that note-taking associated with keyboarding involves taking down notes in a way that does not involve processing information, calling this “non-generative” note-taking. 

By contrast, taking notes by hand involves cognitive engagement in summarizing, paraphrasing, organizing, and concept and vocabulary mapping. In other words, transforming information that leads to deeper understanding.

In such a scenario, note-taking then becomes note-making—an active involvement in making sense of the text for later reflection, study, or sharing of notes with others. 

This becomes a potent study strategy, as one’s own processing can be further consolidated through talk.

What are some benefits of handwritten note-taking? 

  1. Enhanced Learning and Comprehension

Studies show that handwritten notes significantly enhance a person’s learning and comprehension skills. When you write by hand, you engage multiple cognitive processes, including your motor skills, visual memory, and spatial reasoning. This intricate web of connections helps you process information more deeply and retain it better compared to passive typing.

Moreover, the act of physically forming letters and words forces you to slow down, allowing your brain to focus on key points and ideas. This thoughtful approach to note-taking fosters better understanding and retention of complex subjects, making handwritten notes an invaluable tool for students, professionals, and learners of all ages.

  1. Boosted Creativity and Idea Generation

There is an undeniable connection between the hand and the brain in terms of creativity. Many renowned artists, writers, and thinkers have testified to the power of doodling or sketching ideas on paper to stimulate their imagination. Why is that so? 

It’s because handwritten notes offer the freedom to draw diagrams, make mind maps, and scribble spontaneous thoughts, unleashing the creative potential within humans!

Unlike rigid digital platforms, the blank canvas of paper invites people to explore, experiment, and connect ideas in unexpected ways. So, whether you’re brainstorming for a project or simply journaling your thoughts, handwritten notes offer a more organic and holistic approach to idea generation.

  1. Enhanced Focus and Reduced Distractions

Everson says one of the biggest drawbacks of digital note-taking lies in the multitude of distractions it presents. When typing on a computer or tablet, it’s easy to switch tabs, check emails, or browse social media. These disrupt your focus and compromise the quality of your notes.

In contrast, the simplicity of pen and paper minimizes distractions, allowing you to stay fully engaged with the content at hand. The tactile experience of handwriting anchors your attention, fostering a state of flow that promotes a deeper understanding of the material and increased productivity.

  1. Improved Information Retention and Recall

Have you ever noticed how handwritten notes from years ago can evoke memories and emotions in ways that digital files can’t? This phenomenon is known as the “generation effect,” where the act of generating information (writing by hand) enhances your ability to remember it later on in life.

Researchers have found that students who take handwritten notes are more likely to retain and recall information during exams compared to those who rely solely on digital note-taking methods. This shows the connection between the hand and the brain creates a powerful memory link, making handwritten notes a valuable tool for long-term memory retention.

  1. Mindfulness and Emotional Well-Being

Taking down notes by hand is a deliberate and mindful activity that demands your full presence. Engaging in this meditative process provides a welcome break from the constant digital bombardment you might be experiencing in your daily life.

Furthermore, the physical act of writing is therapeutic and emotionally soothing. Whether you’re jotting down thoughts in a journal or expressing gratitude in a personal note, the intimacy of handwritten words allows for a deeper connection with yourself and others.

Overall, Everson believes the art of taking down notes by hand should not be underestimated or overshadowed by modern technology. Why? 

It’s because putting pen to paper offers an array of benefits that extend beyond efficiency and convenience, such as enhanced learning, increased creativity, better focus, and boosted information retention skills. 

Besides, handwritten notes provide an opportunity for mindfulness and emotional well-being in an increasingly fast-paced and digital world.

So, the next time you’re faced with the choice between typing and writing, consider the remarkable advantages of the latter! 

While there’s nothing wrong with using your electronic devices, you should also learn to embrace the tangible connection between your hand and your brain. This will help you rediscover the joy of handwritten notes—a timeless practice that continues to stand the test of time.

We hope you find today’s topic interesting and inspiring! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Mindfulness by Miles”

High-performance businesses are run by people who think and act differently. 

In other words, these are people who are high-performing individuals

Companies and individuals of this kind have found ways to escape the grind of commoditization and competition by focusing on the RIGHT goals. 

High-performing businesses and individuals are also “return driven” businesses and “career driven” individuals. They conscientiously develop unique capabilities and resources that allow them to deliver offerings in ways no other firm or individual can. 

Every Friday, we’ll publish tips and insights from MBO Partners and The I Institute’s “The Business Builder Daily” newsletter. 

These will help you gain knowledge on the things that Miles Everson, the CEO of MBO Partners, often talks about regarding the future of the workforce. 

We’ll also highlight other mindfulness advice on how you can be a high-performing individual both in your career and personal life. 

Hope you’ve found this week’s insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s “Mindfulness by Miles!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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