To-do lists in all forms are a simple, yet effective tool for enabling us to feel more organised and grounded. There has always been the digital v paper debate when it comes to planners or to-do lists, something that has divided the planner community. The digital world is at our fingertips, we have access to anything and everything right in our pocket, but writing down your tasks and plans on paper has so many benefits.
These are 7 best reasons why you should start using a paper to-do list:
1. Writing to-do lists helps memory
Writing is an engaging process for your brain unlike using a digital list creating lists by hand improves our memory. It is proven that it is much easier to recall things you have written down which means you are less likely to forget important tasks.
When you have a clear plan on paper, it shows intention and provides you with accountability for tasks you need to complete. Writing a to-do list, putting pen to paper is making a commitment by getting things done. Writing a to-do list will help to declutter your brain. When you see a clear plan of completed and incomplete tasks will help you to get more organised and stay mentally focused.
2. Ticking off tasks is motivating and satisfying
It can be so off putting when you are staring down at this list of tasks; sometimes, you just want to run and hide! Once you start working your through your tasks, being able to tick or cross off a task can be encouraging and motivating – you then have the drive to complete more. You then get a huge sense of achievement at the end of the day.
If you ask people why they use paper to-do lists, a lot of people say they get satisfaction and gratification from checking off those tasks. For me, having a list of tasks and even being able to check off 2 or 3 can be very encouraging when my chronic illness is playing havoc with my body. So, every day I feel like I have achieved something.
3. No battery or signal is needed
Digital to-do lists can have their benefits. However, you are limited when it comes to your phone or device’s battery life or even the signal for the internet.
With a paper to-do list, you don’t have to worry about any of these problems. Paper and a pen ca be used anywhere at any time. You relinquish dependency on your devices and avoid any unnecessary stress when your laptop crashes, have forgotten your charger or simply have no signal, where the likely panic will set in. Using a paper to-do list allows me to plan my days without any glitches and I can reach for my list at any time.
4. You are less likely to be distracted
Using a digital to-do list can be great, but a big flow can be distracting. How many times have you been working on your phone or laptop and been distracted by a notification? You get notified of an email or a social media notification ad you check it… before you know it, 15-20 minutes have passed whereas using a paper to-do list means that there is nothing that can stop you utilising your list (if you keep your phone away!). You can write down your tasks, live in the moment an set your intentions.
5. Reduces your screen time and the need for to-do list apps
Our lives are heavily technology based, using our phones for banking, appointments, alarm reminders and shopping. Having some screen free time should be part of your daily and weekly routines. It can be easy to spend long periods of time especially if you are sucked into binge watching your favourite shows. Unfortunately, all this prolonged screen time ca really impact your physical health and leave you with eye strain. Having my to-do list on paper and offline allows me to stay focused, gives my eyes a chance to rest.
There are so many variations of to-do list apps, all of which promise to have all the ‘bells and whistles’ to make you super productive for a cost within the app. You can sync the latest app to your devices, calendars and emails. There can be certain benefits to apps that are well-designed; however, there is a huge benefit to keeping things simple when you have a busy life.
The virtue of having paper to-do lists is that they ooze simplicity. You don’t have storage space to download the app and update it. You just need to grab your pen and your favourite to-do list pad or notebook. So simple!
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash
6. Gives you a sense of calm and an opportunity to de-stress
Planning my week on a Sunday gives me that time ‘me time’, the chance to list all my tasks, plans and reminders and offload them from my mind, bringing me a sense of calm. I know exactly what I need to do and where I need to be each day.
Using a paper to-do list gives you the perfect opportunity to take a quiet moment and plan your week in a calming environment. It means that you slow down and reduce your stress; taking the time to use a paper to-do list allows you to be intentional with your time. In addition, ensuring you reduce levels of anxiety and mentally focusing you to achieve your goals without distractions.
7. You get to buy and use pretty stationery
As you all know, I am a HUGE stationery lover and if you are like me, you don’t need any excuse to shop for cute stationery! In order to write an effective to-do list, you need to have a to-do list pad or a notebook that you enjoy using to increase the desire to tackle those tasks. Whether you pick a pad for the design, a planner for the features or because they are Instagram worthy, choosing beautiful stationery can motivate you to be productive, organised and afford stationery addicts both joy and a positive experience.
These are some positive benefits that you can gain from deciding to opt for a paper to-do list rather than a digital one or planner app. It is important to find a planning or organising system that works for you, your lifestyle and makes you the productive.
Do you use a paper to-do list or do you prefer a digital version? I’d love to hear in the comments.