In an increasingly digital world, taking pen to paper is often seen as an old-fashioned way of doing things, especially in the office. But there are some interesting and unexpected advantages to using a paper diary over your computer calendar.
Research shows that using a paper diary makes you more organized, helps you plan and allows you to keep important information at your fingertips in a very easy to use and easy to manage format. Here’s why…
Paper Has a Physical Presence
Sure, so does your computer, but it’s not the same.
We like things we can hold in our hands. It makes the item more tangible, more real, and easier to remember, all of which are important things at work.
The easier it is to remind yourself that something’s real, the harder it is to ignore it, and the less likely it is that you’ll forget something important.
Being a physical item means that paper has a great deal more flexibility than the ones and zeroes of the digital world.
You can put it in your pocket, your bag, your folders and files, and retrieve it much faster than you can retrieve any file.
While portability is different, it can not be considered less functional than digital forms in terms of portability.
All that, and without battery warnings!
Writing by Hand is Better for the Brain
You’ve probably heard before that it’s easier to remember something you write by hand than something you type on a computer.
The kinetic feeling we experience when we write things by hand causes our brains to process the information into memories more readily.
At work, it’s vital to remember a whole array of information, so putting your important dates and deadlines in writing is a good idea.
Research from both Princeton University and The University of California suggest that writing connects better with procedural and long-term memory better than typing.
In the studies provided by Princeton and the University of California, both research teams found that a week after the first tests were completed, those students who had used pen and paper had actually improved their depth of understanding and subsequently improved their results on a second test.
The reasons for this are numerous and attributed to the way our brains function in relation to the movement of the body, as well as the additional sensory organs involved in writing.
Those who have conducted prior studies have suggested that digital note taking is less effective than longhand note-taking for learning as well.
Writing tends to develop a stronger conceptual relationship between ideas as well as objects, which in turn provides stronger reinforcement to your short and long term memory.
Lower Maintenance and Environmental Issues
While computers are handy and convenient most of the time, fully relying on them can occasionally cause problems.
We’ve all experienced computer problems. They can become infected with a virus, don’t work when there is a power outage, or just suddenly stop working.A paper diary will never say the two words you dread most: “low battery”!
Unlike computers, a paper diary or journal is only at risk if you damage it somehow or lose it. Otherwise, it’s always on-hand for you, and there’s something to be said for data you can access no matter what the situation is.
Beyond maintenance issues are the issues related to maintaining the environment. The Digital age was boost by the promise of less waste. We were all going paperless, and we were told how much better the environment would be as a result. But is this true?
The toxic waste produced by discarded electronic devices is becoming a toxic time bomb in some countries. In Australia, for example, people discarded 16.8 million electronic devices in 2007 and 2008. Only 9 percent was recycled while 88 percent, or 14.7 million, was sent to landfill.
No End User License Agreements with a Paper and Pen
Did you know that if you are using a diary or planner app on your computer, you don’t actually own your own personal information?
The information you store on a digital platform is somewhat at the mercy of the person running the app.
So if you want to feel completely secure about your information, owning a paper diary or journal is the best way to go.
And there are no End User Licence Agreements needed with a pen and paper, right?
Whether you want something that you can hold in your hands or something that will better hold you accountable, a paper diary or journal is the best way to achieve that.
You own the information, it’s easy to access in just about any situation, and it feels good to our hands and to our minds to put it down in writing. That’s the lasting glory of paper.
About the Author:
David Trounce is a Small Business Consultant and the Founder of Mallee Blue Media, an agency specialising in marketing and online business development.
David works with remote teams and freelancers from Australia, West Africa, the United States and South East Asia.
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