Paper, I have found has been a useful tool for me. I take notes by hand in a notebook and have used paper to provide me an effective way to think through issues before lunging at an answer or solution.
I must be honest. When thinking through issues I like to work with a spreadsheet and then print it. So, it’s not always about paper.
What is interesting about writing things down or entering things on a spreadsheet is that I find it slows me down. It gives me a chance to see where the gaps are in either my thinking or someone elses thinking.
It allows me to change the order of the thoughts, beliefs, or assumptions I have recorded. This then leads me to either new possibilities or a new emphasis on other things deemed not initially important.
A good friend of mine who has helped me as a mentor told me early on, about 7 years ago, if something doesn’t make sense on paper in will never work in real life. He was talking about numbers and financial projections but I have found the same thing to be true of defining and working through issues as well.
My note taking in a notebook works best when I am listening to a video or reading an article that has things in it I want to learn. Somehow, again, slowing down to absorb what I have just heard or read and then writing these things down gives me the opportunity to reflect and internalize.
There are many things that have been suggested to me that have not worked well. Whether you use a notebook or not is up to you.
But putting things on paper, especially when things aren’t clear or there is too much emotion in a conversation has been proven to me over and over, to be one of the most valuable tools I use on a regular basis.
Do you care to give it a try?