Is Paper the Answer to Being More Productive?

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Paper might be one of the world’s oldest technologies, but it seems it still has a few things to teach us about being productive.

Be productive: keep a paper journal

With the advent of trends such as bullet journaling and self journaling, people are beginning to realise the benefits of having a paper notebook. Productivity experts and stationery lovers picked out their favourites for 2019 for the Strategist here.

Proponents argue that keeping a paper journal is the best option for goal setting and managing a task list – thereby helping you to be more productive.

Be productive: take paper notes in meetings

We’ve noted in earlier articles how some of the most successful entrepreneurs are big fans of taking paper notes in meetings, including Bill Gates and Richard Branson. And their ideas are backed up by science.

Researchers have shown that we engage with a topic much more if we take paper notes while listening. The process of taking notes forces us to engage with and pre-process the information we are writing down. This doesn’t happen when we are simply listening or typing notes.

Be productive: paper brainstorming inspires fresh thinking

Being productive is about collaboration and teamwork as much as it is about optimising your own behaviours and workflows. Paper has an important role to play here too.

In a recent article, we looked at why electronic apps don’t deliver the same sense of urgency and group involvement that a real brainstorming session facilitated with sheets of paper can engender.

Be productive: take regular breaks.

We are not machines. And we don’t function well under machine-like conditions. That’s why some of the foremost productivity experts suggest taking regular breaks, especially between tasks, to allow your cognitive abilities to regroup and recover.

You don’t have to make time for a dramatic change of environment to give yourself a break. Even something as simple as doodling can give your brain the rest it needs to feel revived and refreshed between tasks… and ultimately empower you to improved productivity.