On this blog, I have covered numerous task management sites, tools and applications to help productivity and organization at work. Myself, @geeklindsay and @leesnewton are always discussing the newest to-do list apps and how we like to stay organized.
Ironically, after all this time and experimentation, I’ve taken what could be considered a step backwards. I’ve taken my task management back to analog.
As my day-to-day tasks played out, I found myself feeling the need to organize what I needed to do and prioritizing the most important tasks. Over time, I was ultimately writing down quick “oh by the way” tasks on post-it notes and sticking it to my computer. Either at the end of the day or the beginning of the next day, I would take those sticky notes and place them into my task management system I was using at the time.
Ultimately, I realized I was spending more time trying to organize my tasks than actually completing those tasks. In addition, I noticed that the tasks that I actually take time to write down were the ones I had the easiest time remembering. I figured there was something to that.
As it turns out, there are actually studies done stating how writing things down by hand is actually good for cognitive improvement. In fact, according to studies cited by this Lifehacker article, people who wrote down their goals on paper instead of typing were 33% more likely to achieve those goals.
What I Do Now
Around my birthday a few weeks ago, I ordered a new notebook from Behance called the Action Notebook (pictured). It’s a grid style notebook that has a running tab of action items that come out of meetings. This has been a genius addition. Most meetings (or at least productive ones) have next-steps that come out of them. This notebook lets me take brainstorming and idea notes while being able to outline specific tasks in the side column. I also ordered a few action task cards to keep in the back folder of the notebook to keep track of tasks and external notes on the go.
In addition, because I’m writing things down more, less and less work is flying under my radar. My tasks have been easier to take care of. I’m beginning to think there’s something to the power of hand-written words.
What about you all? Where do you fall in the choice between typing and handwriting?