In the current age of exciting new technology and gadgets, it seems most of us can’t bear to leave the house without an assortment of devices for browsing the web, listening to music and staying in constant, infuriating contact with everyone we’ve ever met.
While I’m certainly not one to bash gadgets (I love a good phablet), I also know it’s still important not to give up on the more traditional methods of keeping ourselves organized; which is why I’ve taken to carrying a notepad around with me everywhere. And I’ve found it’s helped me in many different areas of life – some of which were quite surprising. From now on I’m always carrying a notepad and pen on me, and this is why you should as well.
The Many Uses of Notepads
Noting Down Ideas and Notes: The first benefit I find from carrying a notepad on me at all times is that it’s still the quickest way to jot down ideas and other things I need to remember. If I need to come up with an idea for a new article title for instance, then I’ll write it down in my notepad to prevent me forgetting it, while it’s also great to have it to hand when someone on the phone tells me to write down their number (and you can’t use your smartphone in this instance for obvious reasons). You never know when an idea will strike, or when you’ll have to make a note of something, and in these situations pen and paper is quicker and easier to re-find later.
Oh and when my idea is a bit more complex than just an article title – say a piece of software I’ve just thought up – having a pen and paper to hand is highly useful for working through those ideas. Sometimes putting something down on paper helps you to see it more clearly and to spot the flaws, and you can juggle concepts that are just too tricky to work with in your head alone.
Drawing: I love doodling and I used to consider myself fairly good at it too. It bothered me then that since finishing university I never really got the time to indulge in this particular hobby – until I started carrying around my notebook. Now when I’m busy working in a coffee shop somewhere, I’ll have my notepad out in front of me and from time to time I’ll sketch one of my old characters, or I’ll copy a cool image I find online. And a surprise bonus of all this is that it saves me from more serious procrastination – it’s much better to have a quick doodle that I can put down at any time than to start reading about ‘wheatgrass’ on Wikipedia (hey, we’ve all been there).
Memory: Using a notepad is definitely a great way to avoid forgetting things, and the primary use of notepads in fact is in fact to note down your ideas. Plus it’s a fantastic revision aid that you can revise from when you’re in a queue at the bank or being a passenger in a car/on a train. Something I also find very useful is to draw things I need to remember. If you’ve ever heard of the concept of a ‘memory palace’ then try actually drawing down the rooms and the items you want to remember – you’ll find it’s surprisingly helpful.
Working: Notepads give you a great space to jot down your ideas and your working whether you’re doing maths, or whether you’re noting down structures and plans. You can also use notepads to work through more abstract goals, or to come up with new ideas. Mind maps, mood boards and doodles can all help you to develop ideas and come up with solutions.
Communication: You can use a notepad to communicate a great number of things with others. If you are in a foreign country for instance, then you can use your notepad to draw visual clues as to what you’re trying to say (so you don’t have to mime being a chicken in a restaurant like my Mum did). Likewise a notepad can be very useful if you need to give someone directions as it gives you a space to draw a map.
Games: Notepads can pass the time easily whether you’re on your own or with a friend. You can use a notepad for brain training for instance by just doing some random sums or drawing from memory, while you can play hang man, tick tack toe or Pictionary among other things with friends.