4 benefits of keeping a physical diary

With digital calendars, online project management tools and notetaking apps on the rise, have physical diaries become redundant?

The answer is ‘no’. Both physical and digital tools have their strengths and weaknesses, so the best approach is to take advantage of what each has to offer. We spoke to Maritoni Renaghan, Category Manager – Office Products, about the benefits of using a physical diary as one of your tools. Here are her top four benefits:

1. Better information retention

“Several studies have shown physical notetaking can accelerate learning and information retention,” informs Maritoni

One study found that summarising, paraphrasing and concept mapping (all forms of generative notetaking), are more beneficial for the brain because of something known as the ‘encoding hypothesis’.1 “The encoding hypothesis is a cognitive process that occurs when a person writes notes in their own words, rather than verbatim. This process results in improved learning and information retention,” explains Maritoni.

Another study involving brain scans found that handwriting activated more regions of the brain as opposed to typing, particularly in the visual processing centres of the brain.2

2. Less distractions

Have you ever tried to focus on a task when a call, email or message diverts your attention?

Push notifications can side track your focus and cause you to task-switch, which has been proven to reduce productivity by up to 40 per cent.3

“Keeping a physical diary or planner and having access to your to-do lists, notes, deadlines and goals in physical form can help you avoid distractions that come with constant connectivity and improve productivity. It’s a great way to unplug and remove any digital distractions,” says Maritoni.

3. Effective goal setting

“A physical diary is an incredibly effective tool for planning, prioritisation and goal setting,” informs Maritoni.

One study found that those who vividly described or pictured their goals by writing them down were 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to succeed than people who didn’t.4

“Many people also prefer the tangible feel of pen and paper and physically ticking things off when goals are achieved,” says Maritoni.

4. Stress management

Do you ever feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders when you put your thoughts on paper?

“Writing is a well-known method of relieving stress and anxiety. If your mind ever feels cluttered, write down all your thoughts and ideas to give them structure and organisation,” says Maritoni. While digital tools are here to stay, the many benefits a physical diary has to offer are convincing reasons to keep one around!

We offer a wide range of diaries and planners so you can stay organised and productive, no matter where you’re working. Check out our full range online. Order now and receive 10% off all 2024 range diaries!*

Browse our Winc 2024 Diaries catalogue online or order a copy today.

*Diaries Pre-Sale 10% Off:

Prices as marked, 10% off already applied. Final prices as displayed (exclude GST where applicable) are valid from 1 July 2023 to 30 September 2023, unless withdrawn or terminated earlier at the sole discretion of Winc Australia Pty Limited (‘Winc’). Custom printed diaries are excluded from the 10% off pre-sale offer. Pre-orders will ship when products become available. Products available whilst stocks last. Products styles, brands, colours and sizes may vary. Not all products are available in all areas. Only authorised recipients can take advantage of the products and pricing contained herein. For government departments, eligibility is subject to departmental guidelines. All purchases are subject to Winc terms and conditions of sale, for details please visit https://www.winc.com.au/services/about-us/terms-and-conditions-of-sale/.


1Doubek, J., 2016, ‘Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away’, <https://www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away>

2Goodwin, B., 2018, ‘Research Matters / The Magic of Writing Stuff Down’, <http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr18/vol75/num07/The-Magic-of-Writing-Stuff-Down.aspx>

3Fosslien, L., W.D., M., 2020, ‘How to Combat Zoom Fatigue’, <https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue>

4Murphy, M., 2018, ‘Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them’, <https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/?sh=292f92597905>