Why You Should Try a Pen and Paper To-Do List Today

Photo Credit: NeilConway

In todays always-connected digital world, we are surrounded by constant distractions. We carry phones that connect us to every part of our busy lives and have tablets, laptops, and desktops to supplement them. We have apps that help us run everything from our personal lives to our businesses and when push comes to shove, we’d feel better about losing our wallet’s than our phones. After multiple failed attempts with digital to-do lists, I decided to revert back to a good ol’ pen-and-paper list and the odd thing is, it worked—better than any app I’ve tried to date!

Here are three reasons why you should try using a pen and paper to-do list today:

Always Visible
One  of the biggest problems I found with a digital to-do list is that it wasn’t always in front of me. If it’s on my phone, I can turn the screen off or launch a different app to hide it from view. If it’s on my computer, I can close the window, minimize or hide it behind another one. I found that by writing my list out on paper and by keeping it beside me on my desk, it was a subconscious consistent reminder of what my next task or action should be.

More Memorable
I found that items written versus typed were much more memorable. This is the same reason your teacher in grade 3 had you write lines as punishment—so you’d remember what you did wrong. Writing helps engrain things in our mind and physically writing an item on a piece of a paper made it easier to remember what was on my to-do list without even looking at it.

Personally Rewarding
I found that the act of crossing an item off my paper list was far more rewarding than selecting a digital checkbox on my screen. It’s amazing how good it feels to mark something as complete when you draw a line through it on paper. Try it!

The conclusion of my 7-day test was not only eye opening, it was incredibly productive. I found that by noon each day I had accomplished more than I would have in an entire day without my ol’ fashioned pen-and-paper list beside me.

What do you use to track your daily tasks?

  1 comment for “Why You Should Try a Pen and Paper To-Do List Today

  1. Anitta
    December 25, 2017 at 5:34 am

    How refreshing to find this comment from someone young and obviously new media literate.
    There must be a part of our brains that responds to the multiple stimuli involved in using the various parts of our skin when writing with the old fashioned word processor. A screen involves only the eyes, sometimes a mouse click.
    In my experience writing something out also enables many other parts of the brain to be activated in the time it takes to write. Some time ago I chose to write scripture out by hand. (New Testament is almost finished.). While writing, my active brain comes up with questions, sees things that were not visible before, seeks solutions, makes notes, sometimes in the margins.
    Looking forward to exploring your posts, remembering you as a youngster.

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