As much as we have been conditioned to as ‘is there an app for that’ these days, it appears that simply taking notes and outlining the important parts of our day on paper – actual ‘treeware’ – is a great deal more effective than using any of the very many electronic day planning and note taking apps available.

Science tells us there really is something to the act of writing things down that simply works better with the human mind.

Writing is more than just recording data. The act of physically writing with a pen or pencil have much more tactile, sensory ‘resonance’ with the human brain than typing or ‘tapping’ out the same notes. More importantly, these stimuli connect with the more creative parts of the brain. Writing out a daily schedule or a set of notes ‘feels’ like physically constructing something, and therefore becomes more ‘real’ to us.
3 studies conducted by Princeton University and UCLA in 2014 show that we process written notes on a ‘deeper’ level than typed ones, and we are less likely to ‘forget’ written notes due to distractions.
The Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology notes that even simple doodling has a massive positive effect on information recall.
• As a UCSD study shows that we are exposed to 3 times as much information in a single day than we did 50 years ago, that ability to cut through the clutter is vital to our most important tasks.

Psychology is a fine thing, but is there any real-world, business proof?

Yes, actually there is.

You may have heard the term ‘bullet journaling’ being tossed around on the net recently. Because this trend (a mix of traditional journaling, ‘to do’ lists and something like shorthand) is becoming so popular, sales of stationary are suddenly booming all over the country, and in many other parts of the world as well.

Even venerable Moleskine (everyone’s favorite notebook maker) has seen a double-digit growth in their annual numbers for the last 4 years, but only recently have things ‘gone through the roof’. They tell us that they noticed the effects of bullet journaling going viral last summer, and are actually struggling a little to keep up.

It seems this year’s ‘hot new planning app’ really is pen and paper. Who knew?