12 Reasons Why I Prefer a Paper Diary
A paper diary is more than just an important time management tool for work – it’s a connection to reality and an escape from over-digitalisation.
As much as I love and have embraced digital technology, I am and always will be a fan of paper and pen. The weight of the pen in my hand, the careful manipulation of ink into letters, the texture of the paper beneath my palm, the weight of a book as I carry it – all are indulgences that can’t be replicated or replaced digitally. So it’s no surprise that I’m pro paper when it comes to diaries. A physical, paper diary is a must in my opinion, especially for work. My business diary offers so much more than any app ever could. There’s so many reasons why I love a real diary:
1. It’s an affordable indulgenceAs something I only buy once a year, I like to indulge and buy something really special that I’m going to delight in all year long. It’s like buying that exquisite lipstick or the shoes that will go with anything – you need it, will actually use it, and it’s within budget.
2. It’s aesthetically pleasingA beautiful diary is truly something to behold. It’s more than just the look and feel of the cover, it’s the pages it contains within. Empty pages of possibilities ready to be filled. Not blank pages, but structured, pre-prepared pages.
3. It’s a break from screensIf I’m not staring into the screen of my desktop, I’m on my laptop, phone or tablet. Even at home I’m planted in front of a screen bingeing on Netflix. It’s a relief to look at something that doesn’t glow.
4. There’s no annoying pingsMy diary doesn’t make any noise other than the satisfying gentle thud when I close it. It’s not screaming at me, demanding my attention all the time. It quietly sits on my desk or in my handbag. Because I like looking at it, I become familiar with what’s coming up, so I find I don’t need the electronic reminders.
5. It’s exclusively for workI like to keep my work and personal lives separate, so my work diary is just for work. It also means that my personal phone and diary aren’t cluttered with work appointments and deadlines distracting me out of hours.
6. It’s easier to use than an appI’ve timed myself and it’s significantly faster to flip my diary open to the right date than it is to find that date on my digital calendar. It’s also faster to add an entry by pen than to type it on a computer or tap it on the phone. Plus, there will be no updates to download through the year that could change the layout or how it works.
7. It’s easy to add notesI add more detail into my paper diary than I do on a digital diary because it’s easier. I break up tasks into their components and bullet them. I might write a few ideas in a separate column, or scribble down notes while I’m on the phone to someone.
8. It’s deeply satisfying to mark off completed items and appointmentsI’m a hard-core list writer. I’ll even add items after I’ve completed them! Drawing that tick beside each entry upon its completion is pure bliss.
9. It’s a permanent recordIncomplete tasks aren’t just dragged into the next day – there’s a permanent record of what was and was not achieved on any given day. I can look back and see when I intended to do something, not just when it was done. Or when a meeting was first scheduled rather than when it eventually occurred. I can see the obstacles because I’ve recorded them, and I can use this information in planning for the future so that I’m not caught out in the same way again.
10. I can flip back and forthSometimes I like to flip through, checking that I’m up-to-date on everything, that I’ve added recurring events, or to check what I was doing at a certain time. My paper diary isn’t just about the now – it connects the past, present and future. I keep all my old diaries and refer to them periodically as a reference.
11. It helps me to rememberAs I flip back and forth, or study the upcoming day, week or month, I’m reinforcing the information in my mind. The original act of handwriting it into my diary was the first step in the memory formation, with evidence that we are more connected to what we have handwritten than what we type.
12. Did I mention that I like using a pen?In fact, I love using pens and I love using different colours. I love writing things down into my diary and seeing them mapped out across the days. I especially love taking a break from typing and mousing. There’s just something more natural and real about using a pen.
I still use a digital calendar at work, but find that I’m better organised and more efficient using a paper diary. It’s what works for me.