The advantages of handwriting over typing

The benefits of handwriting

Once I created Voycoo and started carrying it around, guess what the first question most people asked was?  “Have you thought of making this an app?”   The short answer is Yes, I have thought about that.  The long answer is there are some major benefits of handwriting your plans.  Here's what I learned and why I decided to make Voycoo a handwritten system.


Voycoo models Scrum, because in my experience as a project manager, entrepreneur and leader, the Scrum framework encompasses many best practices used to successfully complete projects. Though there are dozens of software programs that have automated the Scrum process. Originally, Scrum was a manual, handwritten system. Its design helps teams, teams with work areas, walls and whiteboards to creatively solve problems, write out their plans and track their progress. Even today, this is probably the most popular way to utilize Scrum.

These two vastly different technologies for utilizing Scrum set me to thinking. Which one is best for me? I want to use Scrum to guide my personal life, a scrum of one. And what if I want to add other features that experience, and science has shown help us reach our goals and be more productive? In the end, a handwritten system won out because that’s where science lead me.

What the research showed

For example, when doing research on note taking, I found a study titled The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard by Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer.  In their study, they found students who wrote out their notes did better on tests than their peers.

The researchers found students who typed their notes tended to transcribe verbatim the speaker’s lecture.  On the other hand, those who wrote out their notes by hand, tended to distill the lecture into its essence and therefore had a clearer understanding of the message.

That scientific evidence about improved retention and comprehension when using handwritten notes won me over.  But there were additional reasons to go with a handwritten version.

Sticky note based 

Voycoo makes extensive use of Sticky notes. Using off the shelf 1.5” X 2” stickies throughout Voycoo steers me toward being concise and efficient in expressing my ideas. The small size also makes it easy to add, edit and rearrange my ideas and plans.

Another advantage is overcoming the fear and dread of revising typed pages. The fear of disturbing your work and the ponder/cut/paste/revise/print/ponder cycle, can lead to procrastination and frustration. By using stickies, rearranging and even editing is more creative and natural.


There’s also a gamification aspect to moving stickies around. In Voycoo, stickies are moved from Owner’s Backlog to Sprint pages, and from Sprint pages to Done. When stickies are used this way, the reward switch in our brains gets flipped and each little win adds up.

There’s extensive research about the happiness molecule Dopamine and its relationship to games. In addition, other happiness molecules like endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin light up the brain when playing games. I’ll talk more about the gamification aspect of Voycoo in a future post.

Voycoo comes in convenient Portfolio and Journal sizes

Voycoo comes in two sizes, portfolio and journal. For some people the portfolio size is ideal. It’s 8.5” X 11” format and trifold design folds out into a 11” X 22.5” work-area. Unfolded it provides plenty of room to see your plan, backlog, tasks and done items. Folded to its 8.5” X 11” size, you can easily file it or carry it in a portfolio along with your pens and business cards.

Voycoo Cadre is the journal format of Voycoo. It has the same sections as the Voycoo Portfolio, along with other additional features. Cadre’s 6” X 9” size is the same a personal journal, so it’s easy to carry and can easily slip into a briefcase and many purses.

Voycoo Cadre has eight work-areas to help you succeed in your next quest. They are: 

  • Owner's quest
  • Owners objectives
  • Owners backlog
  • Sprint pages
  • Done pages
  • Pages for your Sprint Reviews & Sprint Retrospectives
  • Pages for taking daily notes
  • Bucket list page

When you purchase either format of Voycoo, you also receive FREE access to online classes that explain how to use each work-area.

Links & Resources

  • To learn about why I created Voycoo, click here.
  • What are your challenges with making plans and keeping on track? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Tom Damoth

Tom is passionate about turning dreams into reality. When he's not working on Voycoo, you'll find him hiking, taking photographs, or training for his annual 100-mile bicycle ride. Tom is the creator of Voycoo, a To-Do List with a twist.