“Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think”
— Albert Einstein
Not writing things down leads to holding all information and solving all problems and in our head. Unfortunately, the human (short-term as well as long-term) memory is limited in its capabilities to process information simultaneously and to remember it.
Thus, there are several benefits of writing things down.
#1 Extension of your memory: Your short-term memory can only hold up to 7 items of information at the same time. Let a (computer) display or a piece of paper be an extension of your memory.
#2 Visualization of your thoughts: You can see parallels to and the bigger picture of your problem.
#3 Better problem solving: Use your mental energy for thinking, not for holding thoughts.
#4 Make progress: You make sure you don’t forget anything when you solve a problem and write the solution down.
#5 Save mental energy: It can be a draining feeling when you try to remember something for more than one second.
#6 Unlock new capabilities: “Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.” - psychcentral.com
#7 Free your mind: Writing thoughts down unloads a lot of mental space. That’s also part of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system.
#8 Become a better writer: “Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand.” - Jason Fried
#9 Share your thoughts: It is easier to share something that is written down than something that is in your head.
#10 Preparation for a remote organization: If you want to work remote or be part of a remote team that works in different time zones a lot of your is asynchronous communication and therefore written communication.
Happy writing 🎉✍️
About this series: This series of posts is about knowledge management. I started with describing The Knowledge-creating Company. In my opinion the importance of knowledge management is highly underrated in companies. By writing this series I want to show why knowledge management should be taken more seriously.