When Pen Meets Paper

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” — Norbet Platt

Among my inner circle of friends, family and co-workers, it’s well known that I like pens. “Like” as in being somewhat obsessed with nice ones to the point that I couldn’t tell you how many are in my collection. Or if I could guesstimate how many, it would be too embarrassing to reveal.

Using my good pens, rather than just possessing them, requires paper. I’ve always had some type of planner, book or journal to record notes and task items. Post-it Notes, Rhodia or Moleskine journals and Levenger Circa products adequately fill my paper need.

Photo by Mark Baker

Numerous technologies have come along to try to convert us away from paper, including the PalmPilot (remember that oldie but goodie?), early smartphones, pre-smartphones, tablets, watches and now cloud-based tools (Evernote, Todoist, etc.) that store and synchronize data across devices. The marketplace may be driving this development, but research is holding steady in favor of the old-fashioned method. A plethora of studies consistently show that physically writing something down does a better job of committing it to memory that typing it. 4 Benefits of Handwriting Notes Vs. Typing on Laptops succinctly reflects the findings from an oft-cited 2014 study The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard—Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.

Even for a technophile like myself, deleting something off a virtual to-do list never feels as satisfying as the manual process. There’s just something about the tactile feel of pen and paper in hand, and the feeling of accomplishment in making that checkmark by hand and having a permanent, tangible record of accomplishment.  Long live the paper journal—and the pen (or pens) to go along with it!

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