It may the age of digital, but some things never go out of style. Though there are a hundred different note-taking apps available for download to your phone or tablet, you only have to scroll through hashtags like #studyinspiration and #stationaryaddict, both boasting hundreds of thousands of images, to see that people are undeterred in their passion for paper. And it’s not just for the Instagram flat-lay that note-takers continue to opt for paper over tech. Using notebooks has a proven tangible effect on our productivity. Here are just some of the reasons why:
As a productivity tool, the main idea behind brainstorming is writing down every idea and thought without priority or judgement. Only then can you review, sort and analyse what you have down on paper. Business mogul Richard Branson is known to carry his notebook everywhere and credits writing ideas down as a main factor for his success.
Remember, we like to highlight that a Productivity Ninja‘s brain is for idea generation – not remembering ideas.
2. Critical Thinking
Though it may take a little longer, note taking is important for exactly that reason. The slower pace forces our brains to critically analyse what we’re taking in and decide which pieces of information are the most important to note.
3. Learn More
Not only does writing information in a notebook improve our concentration and critical thinking, but it’s also been shown to improve our recall. The reason we struggle to do so without taking notes is because of the theory of “cognitive overload”, which we talk about in our time management training . Our brains can only hold so many pieces of information at a time, before things start to “drop out”.
4. Screen Break
In a world where we increasingly work, play and socialize in front of screens, we’re consistently being advised to take time away from them. Non-screen time spent writing in a notebook has benefits for our physical health, our mental well-being and improves our productivity!
5. Scheduling Ideas for Productive Time
One of the biggest issues in productivity is that the times of the day where we feel most productive are changeable. They can be impacted by factors such as lack of sleep or stress. Noting ideas saves them from being lost and means we can return to a great idea when we’re in the right frame of mind to really work on it well.
It all leads back to the conversation around moving away from time management and focusing on energy/attention management.
6. The Power of Doodling
Though it might seem like the habit of an idle-minded teenager, doodling actually has been proven to lower stress and improve productivity. In fact, brand giants like Google and Facebook are trying to use visual communication more to improve productivity and creativity among their employees.
7. Size Matters
Notebooks are small and compact by design. They aren’t heavy or expensive. We don’t have to worry about them being stolen for sale. They don’t require chargers or accessories. As far as productivity products go, they’re the least likely to slow us down or cause us trouble. Not to mention notebooks are also aesthetically pleasing. You can choose from a variety of cover textures, page paper weights, and even binding type.
8. To Do Lists
While notebooks are most often used for to-do lists, the productivity benefits of these aren’t limited to the time we save trying to remember things. We are able to work better, and feel less stressed, when we are organized. Then, when tasks are completed, we get a sense of satisfaction with each item checked off the list, increasing our motivation to keep going.
9. Note & Track Your Goals
Keeping track of longer-term, bigger picture goals is as important to productivity as getting the minutiae of our daily tasks completed. This is because working on the wrong things, that don’t move us closer to our goals, is not actually time well spent. Some of the goals we work towards may be a great many steps from where we are now, so while noting end goals will keep us focused, tracking progress is equally important for the journey to success.
10. Digital Distractions
Another area where the traditional paper notebook trumps the apps is in its simplicity – which keeps us focused. There are fewer distractions with a notebook. No social media, pop-up notifications, or time-wasting websites to get lost in!
Have we convinced you to give this offline method a go? Share your favorite notebook pictures with us @thinkproductive
By Laura Fulton
Laura McLoughlin works with My Own Stationery, a leading personalized stationery e-seller based in Northern Ireland.
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