I’ve been reading more and more about the advantages of using pen and paper for note taking over a laptop. Sure, electronic notes are a blessing, particularly if you have illegible writing as I do. But what I’ve been discovering from work such as this from Inc (no pun intended) is that pen and paper helps us to form better connections between what we already know and what we are learning.

I ditched electronic note taking five years ago. I was told by colleagues in a past life that there was a perception that because I was always behind a computer (taking notes), it seemed I was never mentally present. It took me a while but I find myself now agreeing with this observation. Electronic note taking gave me a huge amount of efficiency in terms of capturing thoughts, follow ups and “to do’s”. However, this efficiency came at the expense of truly hearing what was being said and listening with my eyes and ears (it’s hard to listen with your eyes if you’re looking at a computer screen).

It’s now rare to see me in a conversation or a meeting with a laptop. I have even ditched my Apple Watch that always seemed to misbehave at the most unfortunate moments — right in the middle of a teaching observation as some of my program members will remember!   With this change, I find I’m building better relationships and paying attention to details I otherwise might have missed. Losing a smidgen of efficiency seems to be a small price to pay to gain the power of personal connection. I’m now also a huge Bujo fan, but I’ll save that one for another post.

I’m curious to hear other experiences with the two note-taking media. Does one work better than the other for you? Why?

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