Submitted by: Sam Upton January 13, 2021
Paper planners not only help you to relax, they can also make your job easier and increase productivity!
If you’re feeling the stress of working from home during lockdown, weighed down by an uncertain future and a lot of work-based loose ends that need tying up, there are a number of things you can do. Many swear by yoga, others prefer a long walk, some simply make a cup of tea. But an increasing number of people are using a paper planner to take a screen break and organise their working life.
Now available in a wide range of sizes, designs and formats, the planner offers the space and freedom to write names, dates, contact details, tasks, goals, lists, ideas – anything you need to get down on paper and access quickly and easily. Not only does it give order to the busiest of jobs, it creates an at-a-glance guide to your life and a place to put any and all thoughts to relieve tension and stress.
Command and control
In a time of crisis – or at least deep-seated social anxiety – paper planners have a satisfying sense of control, of organising your life into manageable chunks that you can tick off to gain a much-needed feeling of fulfillment. Looking ahead days, weeks and months into the future also provides you with the comfort of knowing that there will be a time when the current situation will be different.
Planning out your work life on paper can also relieve the feeling of doing the same things day after day. By scheduling different activities on different projects at different times you can break up the day and enjoy the challenge of taking on new tasks. You never know – you may even look forward to some of them.
The act of creating a paper planner produces similar feelings to writing a diary. Moving information and ideas from the brain onto the page compels the writer to focus on them deeply, making complex topics more understandable and increasing creativity. It’s no surprise that many of the world’s top designers and architects use paper to sketch out their first thoughts on a project.
A physical connection
Of course, there are digital tools that can do the same job – most smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops come with some form of organiser. But the haptic connection between pen and paper, and the movement of the hand as it writes, creates a physical bond that engages the brain, allows it to focus on the single act of planning, and plants the information deeper in the mind to make recall easier.
Digital tools also come bundled with a fantastic amount of unnecessary features and information. Whether it’s trying to process 10 different conversations about 10 different projects on Slack, or sifting through pages of small talk to find a single piece of insight on Teams, the latest online work solutions have as many drawbacks as they do benefits. And paper planners have the added advantage of having a permanently disabled notification setting.
The benefits of writing by hand
Writing by hand, whether it’s in a planner, a diary, or just a plain piece of paper, has a number of benefits. The activity activates three areas of the brain: visual, motor and cognitive, which increases understanding of the material and boosts memory. It also encourages ideas, whether those ideas come in text, image or diagram form. And once the seeds of an idea has been planted, it helps us to develop that idea to become fully formed inspiration.
So whatever your job involves, no matter how many tasks you have to complete, it’s worth investing a little money and a lot of time into a good quality paper planner. Developing good planning habits now will help you now and in the future, long after the current situation is over.
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