It’s no secret that we love our technology (have you checked out our nifty app?) but when it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented. Maybe a paper planner is all you need.
Sure, your phone or tablet has an endless number of apps and tools to help you organize your checklists, commitments, tasks, goals, and all the other stuff that can fall through life’s cracks. And sure, it’s especially convenient to have the option of syncing all of that info across family members’ devices, keeping everyone on the same page.
Even so, a pen and a sheet of paper might still be your best productivity tool. Keep reading to find out why.
Pre-crastination: The Struggle Is Real
As any good perfectionist knows, actually tackling a task is only half the battle; after all, failing to plan is planning to fail, right? So before we take on a particularly intimidating task (or day… or week…), we plan it down to the very second. We browse through our preferred app store to find just the right tool for the job, and then we settle into make our play-by-play checklist. Obviously, that stuff needs to be color-coded, and different fonts for different tasks will help it all make sense to our visually oriented brains.
And before we know it, we’ve spent the better part of an hour making a beautiful checklist that would invoke slow clapping from Marie Kondo herself.
Alternately, we could grab a notebook, take a few minutes to organize our thoughts, and then jot down what needs to happen. And then actually, you know, get something done.
Tools like automated repeats, nesting of tasks, and yes, color-coding are all nice, and sometimes they really do make life easier. Other times, though, they can overwhelm us and even make us feel like the quality of our work hinges on our ability to effectively plan. By leaving your phone off and grabbing a pen and paper, you can opt-out of the pre-crastination routine.
Writing Things Down Is a Great Memory Trick
Wonder why your third-grade teacher made you write your spelling words over and over? Or why you rarely had to look at your meticulously taken notes in college because you automatically remembered everything that you jotted down? Because of how our brains are compartmentalized, the part of our brain that takes in information isn’t necessarily the part of our brain that stores that information. By writing something down, you automatically create spatial relations between the tidbits of info you’re recording. You’re far less likely to forget information (or tasks) that you wrote down.
In other words, if you want something to “stick,” write it down.
Checking Something Off Is Highly Satisfying
One of the best things about a checklist comes when you actually get to check something off the list. Silly though it may seem, being able to check something off is highly satisfying and a great motivator to keep going. Somehow, tapping a little box or swiping left on your phone or tablet doesn’t provide quite the same rush.
In the end, your ultimate goal is to find an organizational tool that works for you. If that’s your mobile device, that’s great! But if you find yourself getting caught up in a web of distracting smartphone tools and features, then maybe it’s time to just grab a notebook.