I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Write It Down. Or Perish.

by Oskar Cymerman       @focus2achieve

Writing things down help you remember more, achieve more, and feel more fulfilled. So write stuff down!

Writing things down help you remember more, achieve more, and feel more fulfilled. So write stuff down!

For Remembrance’s Sake: Write It Down.

Did you ever have a great idea pop in your head and it was so good that you knew you'd remember it no matter what?

The story probably went something like this: Seemingly out of nowhere a great idea popped in your head. You went about your day as you usually do. And when you finally recalled thinking about having this great idea of yours and tried to remember what it actually was… you found that you FORGOT. Just like that. Gone. Forever.

That’s a bummer. So, next time you have a great idea, write it down. Even if it seems a mediocre one, write it down. Mediocre will then have a chance to become good. Perhaps it will morph into a great generation-defining idea, such as the selfie stick, later. Who knows? Maybe, you can invent the next big thing. If you do not write it down, you will forget, or simply will not remember, and then it’s as though the idea never existed. Carry a journal. If you do not own a journal, or do not want to carry one around, make a digital note in your phone and transfer it onto a written page later.

For Achievement’s Sake: Write It Down.

Recent research studies find that students who write notes down using pen and paper actually learn more than students who use laptops for note taking. Because handwriting usually takes longer than typing, the handwriting students develop strategies that help them be more efficient when writing. Doing so requires brain processing that leads to higher level of concept comprehension.

When writing on a page, a “doing it” effect is triggered in your brain, and your understanding of concepts improves. By engaging your brain in analysis, selection, and summarizing of the knowledge it receives, you literally exercise it more, increase its processing capability, and improve information retention. In essence, writing notes down forces you, the learner, to process the information in a multitude of ways, and as a result your learning is more conscious and memorable.

For Life Fulfillment’s Sake: Write It Down.

Setting goals increases motivation and achievement. Writing goals down increases accountability and commitment on the part of the individual (the “goal-setter”), and ultimately leads to significantly higher accomplishment of those goals.

When you write your goals down you have the opportunity to define and clarify what it is that you are setting out to do. For example, if you decide to lose weight and write that down, you can further focus and plan by asking questions such as: How much? By when? What will you do? How will you do it?

Having written goals will allow you to track your progress and celebrate meeting milestones, or smaller goals that lead to the accomplishment of the big goal. This provides further motivation to continue and affords the opportunity to celebrate your success so far.

So, start by writing that idea down. Continue with writing notes down. Finish with writing your goals down. Accomplish. Rinse and repeat. Write it Down. Or Perish.