It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology is taking over our world. We’re living in a time where we can watch TV on our refrigerators, order groceries from our phone to have them on our front porch two hours later, and our kids can participate in school through the wonders of Zoom meetings. Technology is even taking over the way we organize our lives. Instead of a family calendar on the wall in our kitchen, we have a family calendar on Google. We send calendar invites to our partners to make sure our schedules align for important events, and we’re more likely to check our phone than a physical planner to see what we should do for the day.
Benefits of Organizing With Paper
While using an electronic calendar is super convenient, is it really the best way to plan our lives? There are a lot of benefits to using a paper planner, even in 2020.
1. Written words last longer in our minds
Multiple studies have shown that the act of physically writing things down helps to improve your memory. Whether it’s taking notes in a meeting or getting an appointment into your calendar, the process that our brains use to translate the information onto actual physical paper also transcribes the information into our minds.
This process is called encoding, and our brains simply encode more efficiently when we are using the written word. The beauty of a paper planner is that most people don’t just use it as a calendar – they use it as a catch-all to store notes, goals, grocery lists, and to jot down important items before they forget them. The simple act of physically writing these things down keeps them present in your mind to draw on them in the future.
2. Written words give us the ability to look back
On the other hand, we use a planner to write things down so we don’t have to remember, so why the focus on memory?
Besides just a list of to-do items, many use their planners to make a note of the things they accomplished that day or week. It’s a great way to slow down, think about what we’ve accomplished, and give ourselves the accolades we deserve for getting things done. And instead of disappearing from our to-do list, the item is still sitting in our planners as a reminder of the work we’ve completed.
This can be an excellent tool for fighting imposter syndrome. We have such a tendency to overlook our past successes so that we can focus on what’s next, and while it’s good to press toward goals, it’s also a positive practice to spend time remembering where we’ve been and the hard work we’ve done to get where we are.
3. Written words increase the likelihood of meeting our goals
It sounds cliche, but it’s true. Writing down your goals increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal. And if you use a paper planner, the goals you write will be with you wherever you go. Keeping your goals in front of your face helps you stay focused on the long term, preventing you from getting dragged down in the slog of the daily grind.
The Daily Moments Make Up a Lifetime of Habits
It’s easy to focus only on what we must do today and lose sight of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Using a paper planner can help reorient our thoughts to both the past and the future in ways that can help shape our perspective and the daily choices we make.