Four reasons why paper beats digital notebooks

by Carl Natale on March 1, 2011

Digital Notebooks

Paper or pixel?

I’m guilty of killing trees. Despite all the searchability and coolness of digital documents, I insist on taking notes with paper and pen. And I’m not alone. Check the Twitter conversation generated by Social Media Breakfast and you will see a few references to the dead tree notebooks.

I can’t speak for them but here are my reasons:

  1. It’s easier: Sometimes we make things harder than it has to be. There’s a simplicity to pen and paper that no app has replicated. I’ve tried taking notes in word processing documents. But when I want to transcribe the notes into a column or blog post, I have to rewrite everything anyway.
  2. Paperless is overrated: As much as I love gadgets, computers and digital publishing I can’t get away from using paper to conduct business.
  3. Digital distraction is a problem: Your brain doesn’t work as well when you’re in front of a screen all the time. It really helps my thinking to take my notes offline and reorganize the most important points into an outline or two. There is compelling research into what digital devices are doing to our brains.
  4. Paper creates a bond: There is an emotional attachment to things we can hold. Especially paper. The words have more impact. And writing reinforces the memory.

What kind of notebook works best for you?

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