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Spaghetti Blog

Wednesday 19th June 2024

It’s Weird, But I’ve Started Writing Things Down and I Think You Should Too

Tue 2nd May 2017
By Todd

If you’ve ever met me you’ll know that I live on my iPhone and I love the cloud and anything that has an app.

I met a guy from SalesForce once and we had coffee. He told me that the entire business is run on smartphones or tablets. They don’t even use laptops.

I secretly wish I could do that; run the business from here, on my iPhone, where I’m writing this.

But recently I’ve grown more of a fondness for paper and actually writing.

I don’t mean scribbling blogs down on paper – that would be bonkers for me. I mean to-dos, plans and strategies. I now plan talks on paper and I don’t use tech during my talks, either.


It's Weird, But I've Started Writing Things Down and I Think You Should Too

It’s Weird, But I’ve Started Writing Things Down and I Think You Should Too

What happened?

I realised the information wasn’t going in.

On holiday I read books, not iBooks and eBooks. I read from paper and the info goes in. When I read blogs like this online I skim read. You probably do the same.


This blog was written to be skimmed…

I know you’ll skim this so I create simple sections that you can skim to and still get some value from it. I’d rather that than you skim it and not get anything from it and not feel compelled to share it or come back again.

ANWAY… back to the paper and why it works.

Paper and pencils or coloured pens work because they put your brain into a different mode. Apparently It clears your mind for higher-level thinking and writing out your to-do list at the start of each day boosts your memory!
Digital content doesn’t do that. Writing stuff down does.

Writing a note in your iPhone is cool on the move and it’s saved to the cloud instantly… but you don’t remember it.


I’ve banned tech in my workshops

Yes, I love tech, but we’ve banned smartphone and laptops. In a digital marketing workshop? Yup! Because when you have all that tech it distracts the people there who are learning something new and when they type the notes they forget them. They might even be tempted to look at their work emails which isn’t going to help anyone while they’re meant to be learning!

Writing shit down works.

Also when they write it down in their Spaghetti Agency book they keep it and use it in the follow-up Skype. It’s like a treasured thing. Dionne even had it in the Testimonial video she sent us.

Ever felt a connection to a Word Doc in the cloud? Nope, me neither.

My plans, strategies and talks are now all created on paper because they’re tangible and they’re special.
There’s loads of stuff that it suits me to have in our online systems, but certain things I keep for paper.

I even create talks from brainstorms on sheets of paper with highlighters – and they NEVER make it to PowerPoint!


Start writing things down. It was a revelation for me and it might be for you

I have paper calendars for strategy and cue cards for talks and who knows what I might try next?

I met Michael Trigg a year or so ago and the system on his App is brilliant. Not only do I create talks using his way, but I’ve now applied it to workshops and strategies.


Grab a pen and paper and see the difference…

I love my iPhone but the content taken in from it is minimal at times.

What do you think? Do you write things down? Let me know in the comments… or send me a postcard!

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23 comments on this article

  • Diane at 19:18pm on May 2nd 2017

    Totally agree with you 100% on this!

    1. Todd at 7:08am on May 3rd 2017

      Yeehaa! To do lists are certainly an obvious one. But what else?

      1. Diane at 21:14pm on May 3rd 2017

        I write a little note to my daughter every morning before I go to work. Much nicer than a text message.
        Revision notes- on paper, different colour pen for each idea and all in pretty coloured cloudsMakes me think and retain more.

        1. Todd at 13:50pm on May 19th 2017

          Aww.. that’s so cute!

  • Liz Dolman at 5:51am on May 3rd 2017

    I still hand our course notes as many of my clients prefer to write their own notes against the topic I am teaching and then can refer back to it later.

    Even my diary is paper based and I write down my task list in it every day. It is so much easier to go back and see your progress.

    1. Todd at 7:09am on May 3rd 2017

      Now… a diary a can’t do. We share iCal calendars so it needs to be in the cloud. The course notes I’m down with though. Our entire course is on paper!

  • Phil Rothwell at 8:31am on May 3rd 2017

    I agree that writing things down helps to absorb the information better, but the tech is also starting to catch up to allow handwriting in any place.

    I recently started taking notes on Microsoft OneNote with an iPad and Apple Pencil. It syncs back to my desktop where I can review, type up notes to Word if I want, or print the handwritten notes off. I find it does tend to stick in my head and it has helped reduce the amount of paper I carry around. I do try to turn on Airplane mode on my iPad to stop me getting distracted, but I sometimes drift onto emails. So it’s not perfect!

    1. Todd at 13:45pm on May 19th 2017

      Ah… that’s a great compromise! I wrote down a note whilst with a client the other day on my iPhone (forgot my notebook) and it deleted it! Make sure you back up those ideas!

  • Ruth Carter at 8:52am on May 3rd 2017

    I have a bullet journal to keep me on track. It’s got all my to-do lists, calendar at a glance, aspirations, menu plans, things I want to do, places I want to go, things I want to grow, Christmas card list, camping stuff checklist… it goes on…

    1. Todd at 13:46pm on May 19th 2017

      Ooh…! Sweet. I’ll go check that out!

  • Sam at 9:05am on May 3rd 2017

    I completely agree. I’ve had a similar thought recently and have since discussed it with others who feel the same.
    There’s something so different about writing your thoughts out on paper – somehow makes it more real…

    1. Todd at 13:46pm on May 19th 2017

      It’s science! I didn’t discover it… I realised it and then found out… IT’S A THING!

  • Ruth Carter at 9:08am on May 3rd 2017

    Ooh also what about graphic facilitation? I’d love to learn how to do that.

    1. Todd at 13:47pm on May 19th 2017

      I always draw when I’m thinking. Mainly arrows and shit. Does that make me a serial killer or a lover? I can’t remember?!

  • Vikie Shanks at 11:10am on May 3rd 2017

    This is why I loved my trusty Filofax so much. If I’m reading something I really want to take in I always read the actual book because I take it more seriously, strange HUH? Takes me back to this blog I wrote years ago! Kindle v Book

    I still carry a pad and pen everywhere with me! xx

    1. Todd at 13:47pm on May 19th 2017

      Ha…! Until you leave the filofax in London!

  • Isobel Jonas at 12:13pm on May 3rd 2017

    It’s great to know that I am not a dinosaur! I always write things down and have a to do list but regularly get told we are in the 21 century! I guess it depends on what type of learner you are. I’m definitely a visual learner so writing lists etc (especially with pretty coloured pens) really helps me remember.

    1. Todd at 13:48pm on May 19th 2017

      I give talks with highlighted cue cards. We’re a creative and image-driven race, us humans. The tech is great, but having some scribbling and avoiding tech is also a good thing!

  • Ruth at 8:12am on June 24th 2017

    I’ve just been on a ‘Powerful Presentations’ course this week and instead of notes we used mind maps. Really interesting and it helps you to visualise your points. Can use a mixture of words and pictures or just one or the other too.

    1. Todd at 15:39pm on July 3rd 2017

      What a fail. Fancy not catering for your main audience (children0 – it’s PR suicide!

  • Tom at 17:03pm on June 29th 2017

    Having studied for a masters degree without writing anything down, and doing all my research online, I would suggest that it’s actually all about the level of attention you pay to whatever medium you engage with. There’s no reason why you can’t read a blog with the same level of focus as a printed article; it’s a choice thing. Just saying!

    1. Todd at 15:38pm on July 3rd 2017

      Ha! Fair point. Maybe I’m just distracted by all the

  • Charlotte at 11:13am on June 6th 2018

    Totally agree. I write my to-do-lists. Have a notebook per class so I can write plans for each class within that 1 book. I do all of my prep on paper and love a good mind map!

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