Are you fed up with trying to find THE magic app that keeps you on time, on track, and simplifies your life with its infinite wisdom and organizational skills? Me too. And you know what, I’m done trying. Seriously, who needs that kind of stress?
Now, you might be one of the lucky ones who has found the electronic planner system of your dreams, to which I say, “Awesomesauce!” But if you are one of the masses who has yet to find planner peace, either paper-based or electronic, well hell, stick around and let’s work this out together!
Why Even Consider A Paper Planner?
Have you noticed that paper planners are all the rage? That you can find them lining the shelves in all sorts of stores from CVS to Walmart? It’s because there are some very practical reasons people prefer a physical paper-based planning system over a digital alternative.
Here are a few reasons why I love my paper planner:
It Doesn’t Make Noise
It doesn’t beep, buzz, vibrate, or alert me to every notification, reminder or incoming message. I spend an enormous part of my day in front of a computer screen. I don’t need to or want to spend even more time on-line keeping my planning system up do date.
Armed with nothing more than a pen and paper, I have the ability to imagine and create a planner system that suits how I live, how I work, and how I play. I can tweak my system tomorrow or completely overhaul it next week without the hassle of another app on my phone, my iPad, my PC, or my Mac.
I don’t have to use my most precious resource, time, entering in all the odds and sods and bits that an app needs to keep me organized. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to spend the time to learn to utilize this new app and become proficient at it only to discover it doesn’t quite do what I need it to do. Believe me, I’d rather use that time to sit and knit, or meet my BFF at the coffee shop for a chat, or catch up on Lucifer. (I just love that show!)
Conservation of Energy
I like to conserve my mental energy for more important things. I find it infinitely easier to flip to Wednesday and write, “Lunch w/K @ 1pm”, than it is to find my calendar app on my phone, open it, add an entry using that tiny blasted keyboard along with the 247 details it’s going to ask me to enter. And let’s not even talk about what fresh hell auto-correct will impose on you. Yeah, it could take me until Wednesday to set up that lunch date in a digital app.
Writing Improves Memory and Cognition
The act of picking up a pen and putting it to paper is a different process than typing on a phone or computer keyboard. Once I write something in my planner, even if it’s not in front of me 24/7, I will remember things better and it turns out, I’m not the only one. There is actual scientific research that shows that writing things down helps us remember and process them better. This is particularly relevant in a classroom setting. You’ll do better in school if you take notes by hand.
“Apparently there is something about typing that leads to mindless processing. . .the results of the two experiments suggest that taking notes with pen and paper, rather than a laptop, leads to higher quality learning, as writing is a better strategy to store and internalize ideas in the long haul. Writing by hand strengthens the learning process, while typing can impair it.”
I Can Unplug
I can take as much time as I like to plan without having to worry about my battery dying or finding a place to recharge. It is infinitely satisfying to be in an airport and not have to search for a plug, that is usually conveniently located on a pylon with no empty chair in sight for miles. Ah, the freedom to actually step away from my electronic devices once in awhile is priceless.
A Unique High
Checking things off with a pen is a high I just can’t get from a digital list of To-Dos. It’s just a delightful feeling of accomplishment and a visible reminder of what you’ve achieved in a day. Checking off a box in most apps makes the task disappear from your screen and you’re left wondering what the hell you did all day and all that shows up on your screen is what you have left to do. Kind of demotivating, IMHO. Of course, some apps ask you if you want to “see” the completed tasks, and that’s nice of them.
Frankly, digitally checking off a box is a letdown and I feel less accomplished and less motivated.
My paper planner allows me a level of self-expression and creativity that its digital counterpart does not. I can doodle during a meeting, or mindmap my next project, or dig out the washi tape and colored pens and create a visually appealing plan that keeps me happy and motivated. I can adhere pictures and movie ticket stubs and other miscellaneous memorabilia that make me smile at the memories.
I love that my paper planner is a one stop shop. It allows me to jot down my appointments, plan the household chores that need to be done next week, work out my menu plan for the week, make my grocery list, record my business-related auto mileage, and brainstorm blog posts all in a single location. I can flip to the list of books on my TBR list and then flip the page to the sock pattern I use when I knit on the go. It’s like having a single all-encompassing app in my hands at all times. It. Is. Magical.
A Life Journal
My planner is really a physical, visual record or diary of my life. I find it much easier to see where my time went, reflect on how I’ve progressed on projects and a catch-all for miscellaneous life events. And while I have yet to master the art of keeping a journal—my planner at least gives me a tangible outline of events and goings on at any given time.
I Can See The Forest
Digital planner solutions can easily become a labyrinth of unconnected tasks that cause you to lose sight of your goals and dreams. My paper-based planning system keeps them front and center, visible and easy to review. I firmly believe you will have a better chance of achieving your goals and realizing your dreams when you use a paper planning system.
It’s Just Fun!
A paper-based planning system is simply more fun. I can customize, decorate, and organize to my heart’s content. A paper system makes planning my life and how I spend my time feel a lot more creative and inspiring, and playful. My planner is a pleasure to use without the pressure to fill in all the blanks of its digital counterpart. It allows me to more easily make connections between where I am and what I hope to achieve.
Are you ready to join me in working through the process of setting up a paper-based planner system that rocks your world? Let’s get together soon with another planner installment where we can work together to figure out all the nitty-gritty details and decisions that will lead you down the path to planner nirvana. (It won’t be nearly as hard as you think!)
Until next time, happy crafting!