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The Benefits of Paper Planners in a Digital World

Monday, September 19, 2022

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Do you ever find yourself apologizing for still using tools associated with the Dark Ages, that is, the time before personal computers and smartphones? Some folks may think fondly back to a time of weekly planners made of paper and lasting for only one year or desk pad calendars covered in a sea of doodles only to be replaced by smartphones buzzing with information and computers layered with multiple screens and images.  

The latest generation of tech-savvy professionals may shudder in horror at what might seem like bygone days, but it would be to their benefit to pay attention to the folks that still rely on monthly planners and paper appointment books. These tools are far from being archaic and serve as valuable aids for personal and professional organization and memory retention. And in our results-driven world it would be wise to use the traditional tools that are accessible, user-friendly, and rarely fail to be exactly what we need to accomplish many of our chores and tasks.  

The approach to staying up to date and productive with our workload does not require choosing between paper planners and technological conveniences. A combination of both for list making, planning and executing, and remembering important dates and appointments builds a firm foundation for productivity and success.  

Paper is Powerful 

We are often bombarded with advice about decluttering, multitasking, outlining, and integration, but even these ideas that are supposed to make our jobs easier can sometimes have the opposite effect by piling up all the resources that store our relevant information. How many calendars do you juggle? Probably a lot more than the 12 months of kittens and puppies hanging on your fridge. There are online calendars on our computers, smartphones, and apps for both private information and professional business. It can be difficult if not impossible to combine all of them into one seamless interface. Paper planners give you the control to add all your appointments to their pages and create to-do lists in order to accomplish your tasks. The worry that multiple calendars might be incomplete is eliminated.  

Low tech should not always be perceived as a bad thing. Tech-free can also be problem free. Paper planners and appointment books do not need an electrical source, never need to be recharged, and do not experience system crashes. The only difficulty you might encounter is your pen running out of ink.  

More Paper. Fewer Screens. 

Many people wonder how any of us got anything done in the days before the internet and multiple screens controlled so many aspects of our busy lives. Our personal and professional worlds are linked to the digital world from shopping to gaming, and from communicating to learning. While mostly convenient and enjoyable, the rapid pace of online engagement can also overwhelm us with varying stimuli. We can become desensitized and overwhelmed. And when these things occur our focus and productivity can take a hit causing us to forget things and make mistakes.  

Paper to the rescue. Using weekly planners and appointment books allows us to slow down and take in all the moving parts of our often-overstimulated lives. Clicking a few keys to enter a meeting time into an online work calendar might seem convenient, but if not synced with a personal calendar, a doctor's appointment at that same time could be easily missed if only recorded on your phone calendar. It is probably fair to say many of us have experienced the frustrating realization of double-booking, overbooking, and overlooking.  

Paper planners provide a visual connection to help us stay organized and remember scheduled appointments. Writing things down might seem like an inefficient method that wastes time but in fact, it saves time by organizing your engagements and to-do lists in one convenient spot. The intentional act of writing helps with focus and retention while giving our brains a well-deserved break from so many screens.  

Don’t Forget Writing Skills! 

It is a worrisome thought that handwriting is becoming a lost art. Practicing penmanship and learning cursive is rapidly going the way of the filmstrip and Ditto machine. Our handwriting, especially our signatures, is an identifier, something that is uniquely our own, therefore it is rather sad to think it is becoming obsolete. Most of us think that writing is still important so why not use the tools that allow us to slow down and write down?  

Digital signatures have replaced writing our names and making lists usually happens in a phone app. Let’s not even begin to lament letter-writing and hand-written notes. When considering all the technological advances regarding communication- whether to ourselves or someone else- there is no substitute for the satisfaction elicited by writing down your words. Using paper planners is just one more satisfying way to keep handwriting alive. This benefit may wax somewhat nostalgic, but it is nonetheless viable and completely relevant to staying intentionally connected to our personal life and business world.  

Have you thought about switching back to a paper planner or incorporating one into your digital arsenal of organization and productivity tools? Check out our variety of available paper plannersappointment books, and other tools that keep you writing on paper in a digital world.