Why are an increasing number of people turning their backs on digital planning tools and embracing paper planners? Business Optimizer looks at what makes paper planners so superior.
Many of us find it hard to swap our trust paper planners for digital ones. And now it seems that even Millennials and digital natives are turning to paper planners in preference to digital planning apps.
Sales of paper planners have shown double-digit growth in the USA in recent years.
Little wonder – we’ve written in the past about the benefits of handwriting for better retention of information and the benefits of paper for sparking creativity. But what is it about a paper planner that makes it so much better than digital?
The popularity of bullet journaling has been credited with helping to boost the paper planner trend, but there are many generalized benefits to using a paper planner, whether you follow the bullet journal approach or not.
Many of the staff at online business and lifestyle magazine Fast Company have ditched their digital planners in favor of paper planners.
Copy editor and writer Michelle Lewis says, “Keeping track of all my activities on paper allows me to feel like I still retain a bit of old-fashioned control, on my terms. I don’t go anywhere without it!”
Meanwhile editor Anjali Khosla says, “I prefer my paper system for a number of reasons. It gives me a break from staring at screens. It also causes me to stay in the moment and plan my days with intent. I feel satisfaction when I physically check an item off my list.”
Kasey Blizzard, a 22-year-old digital designer told the company, “I prefer a paper planner instead of a digital one because I remember things better when I write them down… It gives me peace of mind to know that all the information I need about my day and my work is all in one place.”
Nurse Ginger Hornung said, “I like crossing things off when they’re done. It’s very satisfying, and it’s not the same when you delete something electronically.”
While student Cecilia Imhoff praised the way she could “see my entire month laid out in a size that I can read more easily than tiny text on my phone” and business technology teacher Joanna Howard said, “paper is portable and doesn’t require Wi-Fi or a charging cable”.
There are scientific reasons behind these benefits and preferences. Psychotherapist Maud Purcell explains, “It appears that writing stimulates an area of the brain called reticular activating system (RAS), which filters and brings clearly to the fore the information that we’re focusing on”.
In fact, the human brain perceives text as a physical landscape, we interact with text on paper in a different way to the way we do when it is displayed on a digital screen. The mental maps we create of written terrain are thought to aid memory and understanding.
Of course, as with all productivity and creativity tools, it is important that you adopt the approach that works best for you – but if you haven’t already tried using a paper planner isn’t it about time you gave it a try?
Feeling inspired? Read more about how paper can help you to be more productive.
Plus! Find out how choosing paper helps to support the circular economy.