don't go paperless

When it comes to our bank statements, utility bills and a number of other things, it seems like everyone is trying to convince us to go paperless. The theory is that going paperless will make you more productive and more organised. It’s good for the environment too, which is obviously a good thing, but does it actually improve your productivity?

A pen and paper is actually much easier and quicker to use; if you need to take note of something and opt for a digital means of doing so, you might have to wait for the device to boot up or load a particular app. By the time this has happened, the priceless thought you had might have slipped out of your head. Then there are limitations such as internet connection and battery life. If you’re doing work on the train, being unable to connect to Wi-Fi or your device suddenly dying on you will cause serious disruptions to your work. Carry around a pen and paper with you and you don’t have any of these issues.

Making notes on paper also minimises the number of things distracting you, helping you to stay focused on the task at hand. If you’re working on your smartphone or tablet, a text message from a friend or a notification from Facebook might pop up and take your mind off your work, even if it’s only momentarily. Plus, there’s a greater temptation to check your emails, browse social media or play a game when they are right there at your fingertips.

Lastly, paper is generally better for our health, as we don’t spend all day staring at flickering screens, which can be damaging to our eyesight. Staring at screens all day, especially at night, has been shown to disrupt our circadian cycle, making it more difficult to fall asleep at night. A poor night’s sleep will make us much less productive the following day.

Now, we’re not saying you should abandon digital altogether; obviously, it aids our productivity and communication in lots of ways, and there are many things you can do on a digital device that you can’t do on paper. There are a number of ways we can combine paper and digital to make ourselves more productive. For example, you could make all of your notes on paper throughout the day, and then use an app to scan the pages with your smartphone, tablet or laptop. This way you have a digital copy of your notes, which you can easily edit and backup so that you don’t lose them.