Can’t concentrate? Take a pen

If you can’t catch the idea for the tail, try to take a piece of paper and a pen. The process of manually writing makes the brain work better and research confirms this.

Many have already forgotten, when last used a pen and paper, and it is quite clear — with your computer’s performance will not argue. But we should not throw out a pen and Notepad from the desktop, because the process of manually writing helps clarify thoughts, remember information and achieve their business objectives faster. And it’s not just my own observation but also a scientifically proven fact.


You know those moments when ideas like spinning somewhere nearby, but catch them and build in the right order does not work? You are already ten times written and erased some phrase, and don’t even know where to start.

At such moments, I invariably save the Notepad and pen — after the first sentences or phrases to stupor passes and ideas that can be transferred.

We can assume that it’s just a habit and muscle memory — after all we are from childhood accustomed to write manually, even if now print speed you just sky-high, and the handwriting resembles the indistinct scrawl.

But scientific studies prove that writing by hand, really helps to better focus, and this is due to the brain.

Focus on the subject

Manually writing stimulates the reticular formation — a group of neurons and connecting nerve fibers associated with all senses and areas of the cerebral cortex, hypothalamus and spinal cord.

Reticular active system serves as a kind of filter for processes that occur in the brain, distributing them in order of importance, and when you write by hand, this activity becomes a priority.

In his book, «Write it and let it happen» Ph. D. Henrietta Anna Clauser remembers this mechanism. Writing manually activates the reticular activating system that sends signals to cerebral cortex: «Wake up! Attention! Don’t miss the details!» When you write your goal, your brain will work on it to achieve the desired, and it will send you signals about the need for its implementation.

The development of cognitive functions

If you use a pen and paper to record your ideas, you develop your cognitive functions. Dr. Virginia Berninger that examines the process of reading and writing and their links with learning, found that if children use for writing pen rather than a keyboard, they perform tasks better and faster, write longer texts and complete sentences.

The same applies to adults. In one study, researchers found that when studying new symbols, such as Chinese characters, adults remember them much better if instead of typing characters, write them by hand.

Bernier noted the difference in the brain when you write something by hand or typing on the keyboard: in the first process, you write and connect letters, and the second just press the same keys on which is written the letters. That is, in the process of writing letters, your brain is more active than during the key press.

As a result, you are more focused on the subject of writing, can organize their thoughts and come up with something new.

Of course, completely switch to manual writing as something not important, but to record your ideas and plans in a notebook may be useful. In addition, if you prefer to keep all the information in electronic form, can combine writing manually with a computer, for example, using the electronic pen.

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