Until recently, every thought, idea, story or pitch I had was recorded on my iPhone. It takes just a few minutes in the App Store to find a digital notebook perfect for any young professional’s jot-worthy needs, and the advantages are endless; your phone is usually the first object within reach in any situation, mobile-based note-taking apps possess a variety of convenient features, and sometimes note-taking can even be replaced with photo-taking, as demonstrated by a coworker the other day who took snapshots of an afternoon meeting’s PowerPoint slides. But then I caved to societal pressure and a very endearing endorsement by a friend to buy a Moleskine. All of a sudden my iPhone is getting a lot less attention; here’s why:
A picture is worth a thousand words
Admittedly very cliché, but having the ability to draw, sketch and conceptualize ideas beyond just words is very useful for a variety of professions. Even for young professionals not in creative fields, there are some things that are just more suited for illustration…like a pie graph.
Feels right, looks good
This justification is purely aesthetic, but there’s something about putting pen to paper that offers an indescribable joy within. You can’t compare crafting words by hand in one’s own unique style – an art within itself – to tapping fingers on a glass screen. It’s nice to have a physical reference for your grand ideas, even if there’s no utilitarian advantage; there’s some charm to a full, worn book of ink-clad pages.
Slow and steady
Though taking physical notes might be a bit slower, there’s plenty to be said for the steady half of this adage. (Higher-end) notepads are incredibly durable, the pages absorb bleeding ink well, their hue is easy on the eyes in a variety of brightly lit conditions (especially compared to a screen), and you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery. The last point sounds trivial, but I must stress its importance after I recently forgot a very important PIN that was stored exclusively on my iPhone and couldn’t retrieve it because the battery was dead. I’ve also lost and damaged more phones than notepads, so my block of paper seems to be a more secure option as well.
Tangents, in a good way
I often open my notepad with the intention of scribbling down a few points and moving on. That happens occasionally, but I also find myself diving deeper into the subject matter at hand because, alas, there’s an entire blank canvas in front of me urging for elaboration. Point-form half-sentences are now turning into more fully developed ideas complete with side notes, illustrations, wider observations and sometimes just a few steps short of the full scientific method. I’ve even greatly improved my cursive writing, if that counts for anything.