Why the Most Organised and Efficient Employees Still Use Paper-Based Books and Diaries


We keep getting told that we should digitise the office’ and move as much as we can to our computers. There are certainly benefits to computers (what modern workplace doesn’t rely on them?), however the zeal in embracing technology can sometimes make us lose sight of the benefits of using paper-based materials too.  

There are benefits to using paper-based materials to go alongside computer work. In fact, the most efficient and productive people make good use of both in alignment with one another.

Paper notebooks are more effective for taking notes

Yes, there are applications for note taking on phones or laptops, and people carry these devices around with them everywhere. But are you being as efficient as you think if you are when using your devices to make notes? Research suggests that the answer is no.

A paper produced by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer is revealing. The paper states, “even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they (students) may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallow processing… Students that took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students that took notes longhand.”

The focus of that research was on the impact of technology on students, but it applies to the office as well. When you’re taking notes on a laptop, there’s a tendency to take notes verbatim, but not actually think about what you’re typing down, and that results in you taking less in.

Taking notes on a notebook helps focus your mind on the words that you’re writing, which means you have better retention of what you’ve just heard. In other words, taking written notes at that meeting means you’re less likely to have to refer back to them when you need to recall them. So, in terms of your personal efficiency, carrying a notebook around to meetings might just be the best solution.

Make liberal use of sticky notes, but keep them organised

One of the challenges with computers and phones is just how much information you’ve got at your fingertips. That, of course, is a great thing when you need to research, fact-check, or compose formal documents. However it can be a problem if you want to focus and quickly remember something, because the experience of using a computer is one that is filled with distractions. Sticky notes are a timeless solution to this problem of keeping critical reminders instantly accessible and without distraction.

A sticky note should hold one piece of critical information, and it should be attached to a location near where you need that information. That way, when you need to reference the information, it’s instantly accessible to you.

Paper-based calendars and planners have a critical role to play

These days it’s possible to instantly schedule a meeting by sending around an email and an online calendar note. Once you accept the meeting, you’ll get alerts just before it starts… and even an alert to tell you when you need to leave the office to get to the meeting on time, accounting for the current traffic.

That’s convenient, undeniably. But what if you need a more broad view of your working day? That’s where a calendar or weekly planner can come in handy. Being dragged into one meeting after another is a sure-fire way to kill your productivity, so most professionals try and block out times in between which to focus on work. It’s easy to forget to do that when you’re busy accepting meeting invitations.   

Pairing up a paper calendar or weekly planner allows you to block out times in your week for work, and that way, when the invitation comes through to join a meeting, you can quickly refer back to your weekly plan for work time, and turn it down if it doesn’t fit.

Nail your presentation skills with flash cards

A good presenter is one that can deliver their presentation without relying on notes or reading off a screen. With the advent of PowerPoint, and other presentation apps, anyone is able to create the visual side of a presentation, complete with images, animation, sound and video.
However, when it comes to presentation skills, nothing beats the traditional way to practice. That is, to make notes on flash cards, and practice their delivery in front of a mirror. Flash cards work because they’re focused and limited in real estate; you can’t put entire blocks of the presentation on a card, so you need to instead focus on key points, and then remembering what you’re saying about them.

Presentation skills are critical for the modern professional, because we tend to make more of them, through meetings and events, than we ever have before.

The value in paper material to your productivity and effectiveness in the office comes down to its ability to better focus your attention and improve your retention of information. In the breakneck speed of the modern workforce, these are skills that are going to make you the star of the office.  

Using paper for better productivity levels

Want to create the perfect custom diary, calendar, diary or notepad but need help in printing? Be sure to contact us at Dark Horse today for all your printing needs. Dark Horse Print and Design is an Australian based and operated printing business aimed to meet your needs.

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